Campus and Community

AEIST at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19

Besides being involved in the production of medical shields, a group of AEIST volunteers has also played a key role in the production of COVID-19 test kits.

AEIST has always led the way in the fight for students ideals, supporting their causes and getting involved in the country’s struggles. In times of public health crisis, AEIST is once again on the front line, through the production of medical shields and test kits for the new coronavirus.

The AEIST volunteers helped Técnico researchers in the production of medical shields for professionals who are at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19. Later on, in a second phase, TJMoldes and RapidTool joined the Técnico team, which contributed to increase the production of medical shields. “This increase allowed us to distribute the material to health centres, hospitals, care homes, police stations, fire stations, among others,” explains António de Almeida Costa, vice president of AEIST – Alameda campus.

AEIST is responsible to deliver around 1500 medical shields per day, two to three times a week, so that the team can dedicate itself to other projects. “So far, a total of about 13500 medical shields have been delivered. In the first phase of the project, 2000 units were produced under the coordination of professor Paulo Peças, using a 3D printing process and with the support of Fórum Mecânica. The remaining 11500 units were produced under the supervision of AEIST and in partnership with TJMoldes and RapidTool, using an injection moulding process”, highlights the AEIST vice president.

At the moment, AEIST is assembling COVID-19 test kits. “After receiving the swabs, we pack them, 2 per bag”, says António de Almeida Costa. These bags are sent to Técnico laboratories at CTN campus to be sterilised, and then are sent back to AEIST to assembling process. “After receiving the sterile swab bags and the falcon tubes, containing liquid transport medium, from ABC UAlgarve, AEIST packs, labels and seals the test kits. The AEIST team is also in charge of producing and cutting the labels.

The team is composed of 20 students, who dedicate 8 hours a day (4 hour shifts twice a day) to these projects. There are also those who help from home, helping the team in administrative tasks which are also very important in the whole process. Shift work was the solution found so that the volunteers can also dedicate themselves to studies because, after all, they are also students.

“We believe that the involvement of students in these projects is important”, stresses the vice president. “We believe that, in difficult times, students have to show that they are able to face their fears and help their country”, says António de Almeida Costa. “In fact, the history of AEIST shows that there have been several times, just as today, when students were on the front line, at their own risk, to support their country”, he adds.

AEIST has been promoting various activities in order to involve and bring students together, taking full advantage of digital tools, “in order to break quarantine monotony and to show students something that is more relevant than ever, that AEIST is here to support them”, says António de Almeida Costa. Different initiatives have been launched: cultural, social, environmental, trainning and playful. “We try to stick to our activity plan and, in addition, create new initiatives to give them back a bit of academic spirit that hardly passes through the computer”, says the vice president.