COLLEGE STATION, Texas - As the number of deaths from Ebola continues to rise in west Africa, so does the problem of containing the virus.
A group of graduate students from Texas A&M University's College of Architecture think they may have a way to help. For a recent class project, the group of about ten students designed portable clinics. The completely self-contained units are designed to be easily shipped and set up in any part of the world.
Second-year grad student Gauri Nadkarni said each student came up with his or her own design. A strategy she thinks worked out great.
"All of us had different ideas, different approaches," said Nadkarni. "Different approaches of how to handle this problem."
The units are designed to keep patients isolated, and health-care workers safe. Retired Air Force Surgeon General Paul K. Carlton Junior presented the designs to the U.S. Congress.
"The key is that we protect our hospital people," said Carlton. "Because if we lose the medical people, the staff and the hospital, we've lost the Ebola war."
Brazos County Health Authority Eric Wilke said the Ebola problem has grown too big to ignore.
"Right now, in Africa, the cases are doubling about every 20 days," said Wilke. "So if we can find inexpensive, easy to produce systems that allow them to help isolate and treat patients, that could go a long way."
Texas A&M College of Architecture Dean Dr. Jorge Vanegas said if it can help save lives, he's all in.
"Every chance that we have to contribute to the general welfare of the human kind, state, nation or the world, that is a learning opportunity that we cannot pass," said Vanegas.
The project was headed up by Professor George Mann with the College of Architecture. Mann said he and the students made the designs available free to the public.