MAGNET Delivers Improved COVID-19 Testing Platform in Partnership with University Hospitals and the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance

The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), in collaboration with University Hospitals and The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19, has developed a new, protective testing platform for health care workers assessing the spread of COVID-19. Health care experts at University Hospitals and UH Ventures, their innovation and commercialization division, believe these specially designed barriers could decrease the need for valuable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), speed up the testing process, and better protect frontline health care workers.

“Once again we are seeing how homegrown innovation from Ohio’s manufacturing community can be harnessed to help our medical professionals battle COVID-19,” said Ethan Karp, President and CEO of MAGNET. “It takes an incredibly collaborative environment and nimble partners to accomplish this work on accelerated timelines, fortunately that’s exactly what we have in the Alliance and University Hospitals.”
 
The new barriers are based on a concept from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and allow medical professionals to administer COVID-19 tests using arm-length gloves connected to a protective barrier. This eliminates the need to change, and often dispose of, valuable PPE items after each test. Instead, professionals can follow a simple cleaning protocol. In addition to providing a faster, safer, and more efficient testing process, the booth reduces the need for PPE and its portable nature will facilitate movement to various county- or location-specific hotspots.

“This is a very promising tool for us moving forward,” said David Sylvan, President of UH Ventures. “Efficient, safe testing for both our caregivers and patients is critical. These booths allow us to expand our ability to safely test while conserving critical supplies of PPE. This is another great example of Ohio manufacturers stepping up to help.”
 
Working alongside the UH Ventures team, MAGNET developed an initial prototype and is working quickly alongside manufacturer Robeck Fluid Power to deliver additional units for use in a pilot program. After assessing the success of the booth’s use for testing, UH will determine whether there’s potential for expansion throughout the system. Additionally, modified versions are currently available to assist other types of businesses in addressing their needs, such as providing protection while taking employee temperatures or properly separating workers on assembly lines. Those seeking these types of protective gear and other PPE can find more information at repurposingproject.sharetribe.com.

“Ohio’s manufacturers have answered the call to fight COVID-19, “said Eric Burkland, president of The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association. “With more than 2,000 companies joining the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19, this industry has proven it’s resilient, resourceful and committed to getting the job done no matter what. It’s clear Ohio’s manufacturers are a critical part of our medical response to this virus, the rebound ahead and the economic health of our communities for the future.”
 
The Alliance was announced by Gov. Mike DeWine on April 1. The public-private partnership was formed to help meet the urgent need for more PPE used by health care workers and first responders. Since launching, the Alliance has assisted in the retooling of factories across the State. On April 20, the Alliance launched the Ohio Emergency PPE Maker’s Exchange, an online marketplace where organizations in need of PPE related equipment can find a wide selection offered by local manufacturers.
 
In its work with the Alliance, MAGNET has utilized its engineering and supply chain expertise to assist manufacturers in producing several desperately needed items. They assisted local distiller Cleveland Whiskey in the production of hand sanitizer for the Cleveland Clinic, coordinated efforts by 19 manufacturers to produce one million face shields, and provided critical support in the production of nasal swabs necessary in COVID-19 testing.
 
“The team at MAGNET has been an incredible partner,” said Brian Rothstein, MD, Clinical Ventures Fellow, UH Ventures, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “Their innovative thought process and design perspective have been invaluable.  And, more importantly, they have continued to incorporate end-user feedback to make the products the very best they can be.”
 
The Alliance is led by The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (and its partner organization MAGNET), the Ohio Hospital Association, and JobsOhio, in partnership with the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and the Ohio Department of Health.
 
 *Additional photos and details available here.