3D Printing Fights Against Coronavirus in Italy

3D Printing Fights Against Coronavirus in Italy

3D printing capabilities are designed to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Coronavirus COVID-19 continues to rage in Italy: according to the latest data, more than 59 thousand people were infected, more than 5 thousand people died.

The need for medical supplies and equipment during a pandemic significantly exceeds the capabilities of existing manufacturers. Therefore, all the forces of mankind are mobilized to cover demand. Even if we are talking about private owners of 3D printing systems.

What happened?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the hospital in the Italian city of Brescia was out of supplies of disposable valves for mechanical ventilation devices. They are needed to provide an accurate supply of pure oxygen. There were 250 patients in the intensive care unit at the Brescia hospital. Valves for ventilators must be replaced every eight hours.

According to Business Insider, due to a shortage of devices, people hospitalized in the hospital began to choke and there was a threat of death.
Local journalist Nuncia Vallini reported about the depletion of valve stocks at the hospital. The company Isinnova responded to her call for help.

It took the engineers less than three hours to create the first prototype. Each valve printed on a 3D printer costs less than € 1. In 24 hours, 100 such valves were printed.

Now the company is ready to provide hospitals in the region with valves for free. Moreover, they have patented their valve. This initiative is absolutely non-profit: the patent will remain in the public domain, and everyone can take up the manufacture of a valve.

After that, Isinnova representatives went further and turned the snorkeling mask (a kind of swimming under the water with a mask and breathing tube and usually with fins) using a printed valve with a respirator.

“This is not a replacement for a pulmonary ventilator,” said startup director Christian Frackassi, “but it can be used in emergency rooms, where patients stay for three days waiting for a bed.”

3D printing in the world

In the state of New York, entrepreneurs of a similar profile helped print over 300 visor-proof masks on their equipment for the local assay processing center.

According to CNBC, sharing experience under the prevailing conditions is critical to the stable functioning of medical equipment. Specialists around the world began to share documentation and recommendations on the repair of ventilators. An open library of instructions for repairing such equipment is formed by the well-known iFixit resource. Hospital staff share tips on the operational repair of ventilators or their modernization to serve several patients at once.

Ready-made projects began to appear on the Web, allowing you to print a reusable respirator on a three-dimensional printer, which is enough to equip with a replaceable filter element and fasteners to replace scarce medical masks with it. They are distributed free of charge with all the necessary instructions. Groups of enthusiasts, in collaboration with the specialists, are trying to develop easy-to-manufacture ventilators, which could be produced in mass quantities on universal equipment.

Picture Credit: Unsplash