Given the outbreak of the coronavirus outbreak in France in the coming days, hospitals in Paris are trying to compensate for the urgent lack of equipment to protect staff and patients through 3D printing.
With the number of registered COVID-19 cases approaching 60,000 in France, including more than 4,000 deaths, hospitals are lacking protective visors, masks, ventilator parts and other important items.
On Wednesday, the Paris-based hospital authority AP-HP launched the "3D COVID" project initiated by a surgeon at the children's hospital in Necker, which would now make it possible "to produce large quantities of medical devices to meet the requirements." for unprecedented equipment in this epidemic period. "
Around 60 3D printers were set up in a miniature factory on the site of a park next to the Cochin Hospital in Paris to produce a range of items that were requested by doctors, nurses and other medical personnel across the city .
The AP-HP said production of valves, syringe plungers, intubation and respirators, and rigid face masks would begin as soon as possible.
"Depending on the type of equipment and its complexity, we can produce 300 objects a day, up to 3,000 a week," said Roman Khonsari, the doctor at Necker who heads the project.
As a maxillofacial surgeon, Khonsari has long been an advocate of the potential of 3D printing and uses it to plan operations and develop artificial implants.
Last November, with financial support from the Gueules Cassees (Broken Faces) foundation, he opened a special research laboratory in his hospital that was created to help disfigured veterans of the First World War.
Production around the clock
The project is partly financed by the luxury conglomerate Kering and benefits from the expertise of a French start-up, Bone3D, which specializes in medical 3D printing.
Three engineers will work in shifts to monitor production around the clock.
Requests for objects are being checked to make sure they meet real needs – this is not the time to indulge in "crazy scientists," said Khonsari.
For the AP-HP, the project, which was started in just 10 days by the collaboration of around 50 doctors, engineers, developers and entrepreneurs, is a small miracle.
Officials have approved fast-track certification for much of the equipment, some of which were in short supply before the pandemic broke out.
"But we cannot afford the slightest shortage even in times of crisis," said Khonsari. "The parts cannot break or fail during an operation."
Doctors, including Philippe Juvin, head of emergency care at Pompidou Hospital, who has shown some on Twitter, have already received protective visors from 3D printers.
The Parisian hospitals project began manufacturing relatively simple devices, including parts for pumping devices, resuscitation masks, goggles, and even door handles specially designed to be opened by a person's forearm to reduce the risk of infection.
"There are still some devices that we cannot produce with 3D, such as protective suits, but it is possible for three quarters of what we need," said Khonsari.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)