Sandy Abdelnabi, Ten at the Top Intern

    Living in a global pandemic, times look much different for us all. None of us are or will ever be fully adapted to this new and distanced world and the effects it has had on our everyday lives. Whether it’s the way we speak to friends, the way a fun outing looks, or even a work/school setting. But, these changes have opened many doors to new and exciting opportunities! 

    People have been able to experience things they never thought they would. For example, students have the opportunity to participate in their classes from the comfort of their own home rather than in a physical school setting, most businesses now consist of a staff of remote workers encouraging them to make a “home office”, and people are motivated to create fun and exciting activities in their homes. For me, one of the most beneficial and memorable outcomes of this pandemic was being able to work for a company that dealt with the virus directly.

    Beginning March 25th, 2020, I started working at a medical facility located in Greenville, SC called Vessel Medical. Founded in 1991 Vessel Medical originally put together surgical trays, sent them to sterilize, then shipped them off to surgeons around South Carolina. 

    During the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Vessel medical, like many companies, switched gears in what they were producing and they began putting together at-home COVID-19 testing kits. In a white conditioned room, we dressed in lab coats, hairnets, and shoe liners and began packing. We would fill seven-foot racks with almost 1000 kits each. Because little was known about the virus, the testing kits looked much different than they do now. The kits consisted of a specimen cup, catheter, and a syringe filled halfway with saline. The kits were sent off to people and certain companies with a set of instructions that walked them through the process. 

    One had to put the catheter on to the tip of the syringe, put the specimen cup under the empty nostril and push the saline solution through one nostril out the other and into the specimen cup. They would then ship the sample back to the Vessel Lab where it would be tested for COVID. After enough kits were prepared (almost 10,000 a day) we switched back to the trays.  Although, with a spike in cases, this did not last long. 

    The second time we switched back we were putting together swab test kits as they had proven to be more efficient. These kits consisted of a singularly wrapped swab and a tube filled with saline. The company slowly created a testing tent in front of the facility to process rapid results and ensure the employees had a safe, convenient, and affordable place to test as often as needed. They also began training nurses to travel around to universities in the upstate and provide testing for students. 

    Helping put together testing kits made me feel as though I was able to make a hands-on difference with the cases in SC in a time where one can’t do much besides mask up, social distance, and stay safe. I was able to learn more about the virus and ways to prevent it to keep myself and others safe. 

    It was an amazing experience seeing this company quickly adjust and grow in order to combat the swiftly adapting virus. What began as an unknown business has now bloomed into an entire community of people working to stop the spread of COVID-19. I was extremely thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this community and I am proud to share this experience with others. To learn more about Vessel Medical visit