Space: Science & Technology / 2021 / Article / Tab 1


Advances in Space Medicine Applied to Pandemics on Earth

Table 1

Implementable solutions currently used in the space sector.

ChallengesObjectTimeCostImplementable solutions

Lack of man-made/artificial suppliesManufacturingShort termLow cost3D printing surgical tools and supplies
Lack of trained health personnelOrganizationShort to long termLow costRecruit social service workforce
Lack of sleepOrganizationShort to long termMedium to high costAdopt sleep countermeasures tested on the ISS (rest schedules, pharmacologic interventions, and lighting strategies) [5]
Lack of personal protective equipmentProductionMedium to long termMedium to high costUse materials that can be recycled with available tools
Lack of hygieneResearch and developmentShort to medium termMedium costAdopt hygiene countermeasures used on the ISS [9]
Lack of food suppliesOrganizationShort termMedium cost(i) Use dehydrated food, such as that used on the ISS or in ground-based space missions
(ii) Ration food
(Social) mental health, public panicOrganizationMedium termMedium cost(i) Use available digital health solutions, such as eHealth and mHealth, and contactless digital solutions [6]
(ii) Provide/establish a telephone support line (like that connecting astronauts to flight surgeons on the ground)
Social cohesionOrganizationMedium termMedium cost(i) Educate people to develop coping mechanisms
(ii) Promote positive attitude, self-esteem, and self-worth
(iii) Promote social identity using cultural and social symbols or through communication channels
Lack of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccinesResearch, development, and productionMedium to long termMedium to high cost(i) Testing of epidemic/pandemic drugs in space. For example, ESA tested the remdesivir-based medicament against COVID-19 in microgravity [10]
(ii) Leveraging on adaptative immunity during spaceflight [1113]
(iii) Developing and producing drugs in space