3D printing, rapid prototyping system for custom-made face mask

The beginning of the pandemic was in Wuhan city, China in December 2019. Human contact was the main source of infection transmission across the globe. The disease was categorized as a severe respiratory syndrome, which had flu-like symptoms with severe respiratory distress. 20% of patients reported severe respiratory difficulty leading to hospitalization in the intensive care unit. To prevent virus transmission, preventive measures and strategies were implemented especially for the protection of healthcare workers.

The study in the Journal of Infection in Developing Countries emphasized the need for faster production of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals using a 3D printing technology, an alternative for ameliorate PPE shortages. The lead author, Pasquale Piombino reported, “ the global contamination rate is increasing every day especially among the healthcare workers who are in direct contact with the infected patients. “

During the peak of pandemic, a high alert was there for the healthcare workers, who were encouraged to use obtained adequate PPE, wear FFP2 (N95) protective face masks, take adequate measures for self-protection to limit the viral spread. However, at many places, there was an intense PPE shortage that acted as a barrier to perform surgical procedures and increased the risk of infection spread.

Considering the problem, the research team identified, “ 3D printing as a safe alternative for designing PPE in areas of shortage. Currently, 3D printing is widely used in cranio-maxillo-facial surgery practiceto fabricates prostheses using CAD/CAM systems. However, it was observed that a low cost customized PPE can be readily made to overcome all shortages.”

In the following study, the team estimated a total cost of a single mask to be approximately 5 USD, fabricated within 68 mins on average. Thus, in conclusion, the author concurs with the studies outcomes and recommended for custom made mask, which might aid in fighting the COVID 19

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