Portable negative isolation units for the safe management of COVID‑19 patients

- Edmonton, Alberta

MACH32 Inc. of Edmonton, Alberta, is a start‑up company focussed on developing innovative medical devices to provide safe, reliable, and functional solutions for saving lives in urgent situations. Through advisory services and funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), MACH32 has developed the Aerosol Containment Tent (ACT), a lightweight and portable solution to help frontline medical professionals provide care to COVID-19 patients, while limiting their risk of contamination or exposure to the virus.

Covid Patient

COVID-19 can be spread through airborne aerosolized droplets during certain high‑risk aerosol generating medical procedures. Personal protective equipment provides some protection of aerosolized droplets, but the best protection available is to perform these procedures under negative pressure isolation. Hospitals have a limited number of isolation rooms or in some cases do not have negative pressure isolation rooms. The strain on these facilities has increased due to the rising volume of COVID-19 cases. As a solution, MACH32 turned to NRC IRAP to support the creation of their ACT device.

Designed by a Canadian team of innovators, including an Emergency Room Physician and a team of engineers, the ACT is a portable unit that is placed over the patient's head to create a negative pressure isolation zone during critical airway procedures such as intubation and ventilation. The ACT device uses negative pressure and a HEPA filter to contain 99.97% of particles, rather than allowing them to escape into the surrounding environment. It allows clinicians to perform life‑saving, aerosol‑generating procedures while the patient is under negative pressure. Not only does this provide frontline medical professionals with an additional layer of protection, it also offers a cost and space‑efficient solution for treating patients in hospitals.

MACH32 has received a Medical Device Establishment License from Health Canada and partnered with Andau Medical for sales and distribution in Canada. MACH32 has recently started receiving orders from Canadian hospitals to use the device. This Canadian‑made solution will not only allow the company to grow, but it also has the potential to protect healthcare professionals in their critical efforts to save lives.

"Support from NRC IRAP allowed us to quickly respond to an urgent pandemic need by accelerating the development of our device and getting it ready for use in the field. Because of this support, we were able to quickly leverage our expertise to protect our essential frontline heroes."

Marc Curial, Co‑CEO and Co‑Founder, MACH32 Inc.