Establish and validate national capabilities to support the growth in use of thermal imagers for public thermal screening
- Project overseer
- Dr. Eric W.M. van der Ham，Dr Wang Li
- Project timeline
- Project status
Thermal screening has been widely adopted across the world as an important control measure for controlling pandemics, both for the current COVID-19 pandemic, and previous pandemics such as SARs, MERS and ZIKA.
Established conventional thermal screening technique, such as thermometers, IR-ear thermometers and skin or forehead thermometers are widely used and well covered by existing standards (e.g. ASTM E1965-98:2016).
The rapid advance of optical technologies has also led to greater availability of high-quality thermal imager systems, which allow for automated and rapid screening at entry points such as airports, public buildings, schools and universities. Based on international experiences gained during previous pandemics, an international standard ISO/IEC 80601-2-59 for public thermal screening systems was established and adopted by WHO. Similar national standards, e.g. SS 582 were also established.
Many manufacturers are now developing commercial screening systems, and NMIs are now being contacted by health authorities, suppliers and regulators for evaluation of imaging systems used in fever screening. However, the availability of test capabilities for ISO 80601-2-59 & SS 582 is extremely limited.
This project supports local NMI assessment of the achievable accuracy of all imagers (including non-complaint ones) to allow health authorities to make properly informed choices. It is important to note that compliant thermal screening is increasingly likely to form part of risk management for risk-averse companies and international travel in all economies (including developing economies) and regardless of local regulation, as economies mitigate risks from future pandemics.
Most NMIs, including developing NMIs, have existing capabilities in radiation thermometry which, with some additional guidance, could be employed to achieve ISO/IEC 80601-2-59 / SS 582 assessment. Noting the severe commercial consequences and health impacts of incorrect performance-assessments, solid international equivalence of services is key, requiring additional comparison support. Thermal screening has been internationally recognized as a key COVID-19 challenge and this project focusses on practical implementation.
Main tasks and goals
The main task is to establish and validate national capabilities to support the growth in use of thermal imagers for public thermal screening. This project has two work packages; one on training and capability building and one on comparison which are designed to deliver the following objectives:
Provide participants with familiarity and expertise with thermal imaging screening standards to engage meaningfully with their local medical stakeholders.
To help build up the capabilities of NMIs from the developing economies in evaluation of thermal imagers for body temperature screening to support the growth in use of thermal imagers for public thermal screening.
Thermal screening has been internationally recognized as a key COVID-19 challenge, and that the CCT chair initiated a task group on body-temperature measurement. This APMP project is designed to complement and not duplicate this work, and focusses on practical implementation. In particular, by supporting DEC economies to establish internationally recognized thermal screening, it facilitates the collection of geographically diverse data for potential future contribution to CCT and ISO standards, which APMP strongly recommended be the topic of future projects. This project will provide NMIs with a relevant deliverable that they can use to support their longer term strategic engagement with their domestic medical community.