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This Italian Architecture Firm Is Developing a Modular ICU That Can Fit Into a Shipping Crate

The units, which are equipped to handle two patients, can be added on to existing hospitals.

The CURA Pod intensive care unit Carlo Ratti Associati

The coronavirus outbreak may be mutating wildly with each new day, but the situation in Italy remains dire. With more deaths attributed to the virus there than in any other country, the European nation’s health system desperately needs any help it can get. That’s why architecture firm Carlo Ratti Associati has designed an intensive care unit that can be easily packaged and sent to hospitals in need.

Designed by Ratti and fellow architect Italo Rotta, the modular ICUs would be stored within a repurposed shipping container, reports Dezeen. A first prototype is being built right now in Milan, and if it proves viable, it could help increase the country’s intensive care capacity.

Named the Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments (CURA) Pod, after the Latin word for cure, the ICUs are designed to be temporary structures with high levels of biocontainment that can be deployed quickly in times of crisis. Each 20-foot-long shipping container would have room for a unit and is equipped with a ventilation system that generates negative pressure to keep contaminated air from escaping. Each one is also designed to comply with Airborne Infection Isolation Room standards.

“The units could be as fast to mount as a hospital tent, but as safe as an isolation ward, thanks to biocontainment with negative pressure,” the design team told the website.

Each CURA Pod will have the equipment needed to support two Covid-19 patients, according to the website. Each one has been designed to work as a standalone unit, but it can also be connected via inflatable structures to create a larger, mult-unit set-up. Additionally, the units can easily be added onto existing hospital structures.

Italy remains the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe. As of Wednesday, 6,820 people had died in the country because of the pandemic, reports CNBC, with the total number of confirmed infections reaching 69,176. Carlo Ratti Associati is not the only Italian company that has pitched in to help. Last week, Miuccia Prada and husband Patrizio Bertelli, the couple behind Prada, donated six ICUs to Milanese hospitals. A week before that, Giorgio Armani donated more than $1.5 million to the relief efforts, while Donatella Versaci pledged $220,000 and Chiara Ferragni gave $110,000 to help raise a total of $4.4 million for relief efforts through GoFundMe.

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