The ARK at JFK expands handling capabilities into medical field

By Rachelle Harry

The ARK at New York JFK Airport — which initially operated as an animal reception terminal, quarantine and bio-secure facility when it opened — has expanded its functionality by working with the medical community.

The ARK is now involved with the handling chicken eggs, which are utilised for medical purposes in the development and manufacture of the flu, MMR and other vaccines.

Approximately 164.5m doses of the flu vaccine were distributed across the US during the most recent flu season, of which an estimated 82% were egg-based, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since late February 2020, The ARK has been receiving medical eggs — approximately 2,000 to 3,000 in each shipment, weekly — which are then distributed to pharmaceutical companies for the development of drugs and vaccines.

The ARK’s role in the handling of the eggs includes: unloading at The ARK, breaking down the pallets, re-configuring the shipment into appropriate cargo containers, cargo screening, delivery to either the aircraft or cargo terminals with appropriate temperature and environmental control, and processing, which “is similar to the fragile process of animal transport”.

In addition to handling medical eggs, The ARK is continuing to process animals travelling through JFK airport.

For this, The ARK takes animal shipments on to and off of planes; transports animals in their own climate-controlled containers; transports animals to other airports including between JFK/EWR; picks up and delivers animals/pets from individual homes; and more — despite disruption to supply chains as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

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