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Robots connected to fight against coronavirus in the USA

The COVID-19 pandemic stimulates scientific progress in the United States. At the same time as the campuses of American universities were empty, the scientific life there, on the contrary, intensified. At Arizona State University, it all started with the production of masks and smear kits. Having discovered that doctors are desperate for these items, local laboratories produced about 15 thousand sets needed for analysis on COVID-19, and more than two thousand masks. Writes about it "Voice of America".

Photo: Shutterstock

In order to protect physicians, the university staff has devoted itself to automating and simplifying the testing process and reducing the contact of people with coronavirus samples. To do this, the university began to use robots that are not afraid of COVID-19 - previously they were already used for various kinds of medical experiments.

“Robots perform several tasks. At the first stage, they adapt the samples taken by the nurses from the patients for the laboratory, ”says Joshua Laber, director of the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University. “Then they scan the barcodes on the samples to identify the patient and make sure that the samples are sent as intended.” In addition, robots play a key role in the study of virus RNA. ”

The whole process is trying to automate - from the beginning of the analysis processing to the final result.

“First, robots are faster than humans. What we would take an hour of time, robots do in ten minutes. But most importantly, robots are less likely to make a mistake. People also work very carefully, but sometimes someone may put the test tube in the wrong place or forget to process the samples. For robots, this does not happen, ”Laber emphasizes.

In Arizona, where at present about four thousand people are infected with coronavirus, they are trying to do everything so that as little time as possible passes from the testing process to the time of diagnosis. The main goal is to ensure that as many people as possible pass the test. But for all comers there is still not enough sets.

On the subject: Influenza vs coronavirus: what are the similarities and what is more dangerous

“We painted the scheme according to which we determine who to test first,” says Laber. - First, we will test patients who are already on treatment at the hospital. Then, the doctors. The third group is representatives of important professions who need to go to work even during quarantine. ”

The University of Southern California, in turn, developed a robot for disinfecting rooms. Its creation was also aided by the COVID-19 epidemic.

“When the pandemic struck, we thought about how we will disinfect our own laboratory, because it contains a huge amount of equipment, 3D printers, laser machines. We couldn’t just spray chemicals, then everything would have to be done manually, and this is unsafe for those people who do this kind of work, ”says Satiyandra Gupta, professor at the University of Southern California.

Prior to this, there were two types of robots used for disinfection on the market, Gupta listed: “One of them is equipped with an ultraviolet emitter that disinfects only those surfaces that are within reach. The second type of robot sprays chemicals, but it can not be used everywhere, because chemistry can damage some devices. "

As a result, a robot was created that can not only disinfect the rooms with ultraviolet light, but also move objects created specifically for this with a mechanical hand. It allows the robot to disinfect literally everything - even previously inaccessible places, such as the back of monitors.

Experts believe that the COVID-19 pandemic can push humanity to a new level of technology. After all, those innovations that until recently seemed to be a symbol of the distant future, now turn out to be necessary to defeat the virus.

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