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Bristol-based software company Indus Fusion has announced that it is developing an automated vaccine preparation device to be used in NHS COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

The Vaccine Preparation System (VPS) is a solution to the highly laborious and tedious task of manually removing every sample from its delivery packaging individually. This current way of working is putting operatives at risk from occupational injuries, such as repetitive strain injuries, as well as using the valuable time of highly trained staff, taking them away from important duties, such as administering injections.

Dr Michael Pambos MA, MBBS, MRCGP, Accountable Officer of the NHS COVID Vaccination Program, Sutton, commented: “As we faced a global pandemic and the unfathomable task of vaccinating the world, we had to look at new innovative ways of doing things. Indus Fusion accepted our challenge, ‘How can we automate a thus far unautomatable task?’, and made it a reality.”

In June this year, the company, which specialises in integrated automation, received a £75,000 grant from Innovate UK to work with NHS pathology labs and, within 100 days of consulting doctors regarding efficiency issues at clinics, developed a working prototype of its VPS.

The technology, which is designed to operate in an aseptic environment, automatically extracts and checks samples before inserting them into the test machine, thus improving the yield from each vial. This can benefit labs throughout the world, including in developing nations.

Indus Fusion has now begun working alongside partners in South Korea to bring the VPS system to market.

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