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May. 08, 2020
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To help combat COVID 19, a new initiative is turning shipping containers into intensive care units. Called CURA (connecting unit for respiratory diseases), the first building is currently under construction in the Italian city of Milan. According to the team behind the project, these devices can be installed as quickly as a hospital tent, but as safely as an isolation ward, due to the biological inhibition of negative pressure.  

Container Shelter

During the COVID-19 pandemic, an international team of designers, engineers, medical professionals, and military experts has joined forces to work on CURA, an open-source project to build an intensive care unit. The plan USES redesigned shipping containers to create plug-in pods that can be quickly deployed to cities around the world and quickly respond to a shortage of space in hospital intensive care units.

CURA is a small intensive care unit for patients with respiratory infections located in a 20-foot multimodal container with biological containers (due to negative pressure). Each device works autonomously and can be shipped anywhere. Individual compartments are connected by inflatable structures to form a variety of modular configurations (from four to more than 40 beds) that can be deployed in just a few hours. Some pods can be placed near a hospital (such as a car park) to expand the capacity of the intensive care unit, while others can be used to create separate field hospitals of different sizes.

CURA's goal is to improve the efficiency of existing solutions in field hospital design to adapt them to current epidemics. Over the past few weeks, hospitals in the countries most affected by COVID 19 have been working to increase the capacity of their intensive care units to accommodate an increasing number of patients with severe respiratory diseases. The team noted that regardless of how the outbreak develops, more intensive care units will be needed internationally in the coming months.

Container Shelter

CURA strives to be as fast as a hospital tent, but as safe as a hospital isolation ward, thanks to biological containment (the extractor generates negative indoor pressure, meeting the criteria for an isolation room for an airborne infection). The design follows the COVID-19 hospital standards issued by the Chinese authorities while speeding up execution.

Since containers can be easily transported in different modes of transport and reused in different parts of the world, the CURA pod is considered an off-the-shelf solution. Each capsule will contain two COVID-19 patients in intensive care with all the medical equipment required, including a ventilator and intravenous drip racks. In addition, the units can be connected via an inflatable corridor.

CURA is developed in an open-source, nonprofit framework, and solicits Suggestions and improvements to its web site in the following ways. The first CURA pod is currently being tested at a hospital in Milan, Italy.

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