Medical device manufacturer, Europlaz, looks back at the projects it was involved in during a memorable 12 months by revisiting some of its top stories from 2020.
Manufacturing Covid-19 Test Kits
Back in March last year when Covid-19 began to take a firm grip on the county, Europlaz collaborated with Edinburgh Genetics to manufacture antibody test kits designed as a simple to use, lateral flow test. This style of antibody test provides near-immediate results about whether a person has ever had Covid-19, which is vital for key health workers in ensuring a safe return or continuation of their work.
Europlaz was selected to manufacture these test kits for several key reasons, including its fast response to the initial approach, expertise in medical device manufacturing, competitive price and demonstrable track record of engineering highly technical devices. Europlaz also had the capacity to manufacture the kits within its facilities, having just commissioned two new Class 7 Cleanrooms – the industry standard for manufacturing medical devices.
Supporting Patients in Intensive Care
Everyone will be familiar with the demand that the Covid-19 pandemic placed and is continuing to place on the NHS and UK hospital resources. Much Government discussion and media focus is centred around the shortage of ventilators, which are desperately needed for patients being treated for severe symptoms of Covid-19 in Intensive Care Units (ICU).
Less discussion, however, centered around the demand for kidney dialysis machines, which are equally vital in successfully treating Covid-19 patients in ICUs. Unfortunately, much like the ventilators, there was a country-wide shortage of dialysis machines and the Covid-19 outbreak led to a significant increase in NHS demand for them. Figures from the BBC during 2020 suggested that over 2,000 patients admitted to intensive care for Covid-19 suffered from kidney failure – highlighting the critical importance of these machines during the pandemic.
In response to this shortage, Europlaz worked with Quanta Dialysis Technologies to manufacture and supply consumables for the SC+ haemodialysis machine being used by the NHS. In fact, it is a partnership that has been in place for about nine years, when work on this innovative product first started. Initially, Europlaz’s role was to support the company through the design and development phases to bring new dialysis technology to launch. At the time, the dialysis machines were primarily designed for use both at home and in the clinic.
However, the outbreak of Covid-19 shifted the plans as the launch of the new machine coincided with the onset of the pandemic when dialysis machines were urgently needed by the NHS to treat hospitalised patients. This meant Europlaz was required to immediately increase its consumable production rates in a bid to meet demand and ensure that the NHS had a sufficient stock of machine consumables for its ICUs.
To accommodate the increased demand from the NHS, Europlaz rapidly sped up its production operation. This included introducing a dedicated night shift to ensure that enough consumables were manufactured promptly and to meet the supply-demand of the NHS.
Patent Granted for its Flow Sensor
In June 2020, Europlaz received some welcome news that a Patent had been granted for its Flow Sensor with side port. Used for medical artificial neonatal ventilation, the Flow Sensor combined component includes a flow sensor for measuring the volume of gas flow and a sampling port for extraction of sampling gas for routing to a concentration measuring device.
The integrated arrangement of the Flow Sensor assures volume flow measurement accuracy in a constant temperature anemometer sensor whilst reducing dead space and minimising turbulence and space prior to the sampling gas diversion point. The distance between the orifice and the anemometer sensor is important and is preferably within the range of 3 – 10 mm.
New Covid-19 Test Kit Partnership Announced
Continuing its work to support the ongoing fight against the Coronavirus pandemic, in August Europlaz announced a new partnership with not-for-profit organisation Testing for All to manufacture their Coronavirus Test Kit.
Using its expertise and high-quality manufacturing, Europlaz was given the contract to assemble the test kits for Testing for All in its Class 7 Cleanroom. As with all Europlaz clients, the team’s in-depth understanding of quality and regulatory control of medical device manufacturing was an important factor in Testing for All’s decision to work with Europlaz, as well as its impressive QMS system and Cleanroom environment.
Europlaz moved quickly for Testing for All, progressing rapidly from an initial inquiry from the organisation to a signed contract – in the space of just five days. This swift process demonstrated how confident the client was in Europlaz’s expertise and high-class facilities. It was important to Testing for All and their aims to work with a company that could provide a quick turnaround – something Europlaz is very used to doing.
Thanks to Europlaz’s work on the initial testing kits with Edinburgh Genetics and Testing for All, it was also selected by both companies to work with them on their PCR Antigen tests. Production of these began in December 2020 and will continue in 2021.
It is extremely positive news about the development and rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech and The University of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines but as the country faces another national lockdown as Covid-19 cases soar once again, Europlaz will continue to work with its partners to meet demand and help the fight against this pandemic where it can.
Developing and Manufacturing Drug Delivery Products
Throughout the year, Europlaz was approached by several different companies regarding some innovative new products they are working on. These included a catheter which contains novel features that help improve the quality of life of users. As the year drew to its end, Europlaz produced the final prototype devices and during the early months of 2021, it will move through product validation with the plan being to introduce the product into production in the spring.
In December 2020, Europlaz secured the contract to help develop and manufacture two drug delivery products for a leading international pharmaceutical company. The first product is a moulded component which is used to allow the administration of trial drugs to patients in non-clinical settings. The second, which is a larger version of the first includes multiple components which will be assembled in the Cleanrooms at Europlaz.
We here at PlastikMedia can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for Europlaz!