Since May of this confusing year we call 2020, Assured Bio Labs has been engaged not only with our COVID-19 testing program but also by putting the research and development of an enzyme-based mold inhibitor to the ultimate test. We have procured a Phase II contract under the Small Business Innovative Research program, or SBIR, for the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DOD DLA) to develop a service package that will combat mold development in the subsistence supply chain.
Meals-ready-to-eat (MRE) are shipped on pallets wrapped in shrink wrap and placed onto trucks that are then shipped to storage facilities where they await distribution to various locations around the world. Using our proprietary WhisperCareⓇ and M-TRAPⓇ air sampling technologies, we can monitor the development of mold growth at every location in the supply chain using real-time data with captured spores, temperature, GPS, and humidity loggers. This technology takes the place of an MRE box and constantly collects data to use for statistical modeling. We are also continuously testing a storage facility where these packages will sit, unmoving for an extended amount of time. This will all be a part of our “service as a product” where we combine the continuous air monitoring devices, physical and visual inspections, statistical models, and worker training to better manage microbial growth.
No matter the industry you do business in, the COVID-19 virus is relentless in attempting to bring all operations to a standstill. Assured Bio Labs have adapted to the roadblocks set in place by COVID-19 and have gone over them instead of through them. When the virus began disrupting supply chains, they slowed but did not come completely to a halt. Assured Bio and its subcontractors have taken a proactive approach to getting supplies in early by ordering in advance and completing milestones ahead of time. Any task that has to be pushed back has been related to travel restrictions and the inability to enter DOD DLA facilities. The storage facility that will house the MRE boxes being tested is closed to individuals who are not employees of that facility, so as an alternative we set up a similar study in our own backyard. In the beginning phase of our enzyme-based mold-inhibitor EPA approval process, many product testing labs were shut down, so we could not have our solution measured for storage stability, among others. Our chemist took that time to improve the solution by researching ways to perfect the emulsion stability. For Assured Bio, the adjustments that had to be made due to COVID-19 forced us to take a step back and perfect the tasks at hand. Everyday our SBIR team is thinking of ways to progress the project as much as possible given the restrictions of COVID-19.
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