As the coronavirus outbreak in France is predicted to peak in coming days, hospitals in Paris are racing to make up for urgent shortages of equipment to protect staff and patients by printing them in 3D. Currently, France has nearly 60,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and the deadly virus has claimed more than 5,300 lives in the country. In a bid to provide protective equipment to the healthcare workers, a surgeon at the Necker children’s hospital initiated the ‘3D COVID’ project.
According to international media reports, the project was launched by the Paris hospital authority AP-HP. The hospital officials reportedly said that with this new project it would be possible to produce large quantities of medical devices to meet the demands for unprecedented equipment in this period of epidemic. The project comes as the hospitals in the country are running short of protective visors, masks, parts for ventilators and other essentials.
While speaking to the media outlet, AP-HP said that a miniature factory will be set up on the grounds of a park alongside the Cochin hospital in Paris and around 60 3D writers will be set up to produce a range of items requested by the medical staff. The authorities added that the production of valves, syringes plungers, intubation and ventilator equipment, and rigid face mask would begin as soon as possible. The officials aim to produce 300 objects a day, up to 3,000 per week.
Furthermore, while explaining about the new project, the authorities reportedly said that the initiative is being funded in part by the luxury conglomerate Kering and benefiting from the expertise of a French start-up, Bone 3D, which specialises in medical 3D printing. The engineers will work in shifts to oversee the production around the clock. As per reports, officials have also authorised fast-track certification for much of the equipment which was in short supply even before the crisis struck.
Similar to Paris, several people in the US have also turned their 3D-printer business into a manufacturing site for far shields. The face shield is made of a piece of polyethylene sheet which is attached to the visor to act as a protective barrier between healthcare workers and patients. The polyethylene can either be sanitised or replace. However, they aren’t a proper replacement for a proper N95 mask, but they act as a physical barrier that can protect healthcare workers faces from external fluids.