3D Printing Comes To The Rescue Of Doctors Fighting COVID-19 Amid PPE Shortage

by Darshit Singh 1 month ago Views 1713
3D Printing Comes To The Rescue Of Doctors Fightin
The world is gripped by the fear of the novel coronavirus which has claimed over 95,000 lives across the globe. Healthcare professionals are working round the clock and many without adequate PPE kits, putting their lives at risk.

Over 50 doctors in India have contracted the Wuhan-originated virus due to an acute shortage of safety gears. 

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To fill the gap of shortage of PPE kits, the 3D printing industry has stepped up to meet the daunting challenge.

Spanish doctor wearing a snorkel mask with a 3D printed adapter (Credits - Formlabs Twitter) 

From Italy to Spain to the US to India, 3D printing firms are supplying healthcare workers with gears and pieces of equipment amid a huge shortage.

(Formlabs is a 3D printing technology developer & manufacturer based out of Somerville, Massachusetts. It was founded in September 2011 by three MIT Media Lab students)

3D printing is a process in which material is structured under computer control to create a three-dimensional object, adding together material (such as liquid molecules or powder grains being fused together) typically layer by layer.

3D printing cuts the production time of PPEs and is cheap to produce due to the low cost of the material required.

In Chennai, small 3D printing firms are making face shields for the doctors and medical professionals as a substitute for masks, which have a short lifeline. They are providing the hospitals with two types of face shields, one is disposable and the other can be sanitised and reused.

In Italy, the worst affected country in Europe, healthcare professionals converted full-face snorkel masks into a ventilator using 3D printed valves.  

Italy - Ventilator valves produced with a 3D printer for hospitals

In Spain, another European battered by COVID-19, hospitals are adapting snorkel masks with 3D printed adapters for use as PPE. These connectors help to include filters in the entry/exit of the mask to filter the air of both the user and surroundings while covering the whole face.

The only problem currently faced by the booming 3D printing industry is that none of their medical products have a quality benchmark and thus cannot be sold in markets or recommended for wider use.

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