3/25/2020 | 1 MINUTE READ

Initiative Addresses Shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for Nation’s Healthcare Workers in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

A research collaboration and initiative has been created in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic to allow manufacturers to 3D print thousands of face shields in the coming weeks.

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Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), the Southeast’s first and only comprehensive medical device innovation center, today announced a collaboration that addresses the severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for protecting the nation’s hospital workers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative provides, free-of-charge, the designs, with necessary regulatory guidance, for any Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant manufacturing facility to use in the production and distribution of face shields to healthcare workers.

The initiative is a collaboration between GCMI; Dr. Joanna Newton, Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, Aflac Center and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center; and a team of scientists and researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and its Invention Studio.

“Our goal is to enable manufacturers to produce hundreds of face shields per day to provide to healthcare workers and hospitals around the nation, as well as to provide the open source design for others to fabricate these shields anywhere in the world,” says Dr. Newton. “The initiative was borne out of necessity due to the PPE shortage facing hospital and healthcare workers around the country in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an unprecedented time for all of us and collaboration is key to finding solutions.”

The face shield intends to extend the use life of the current N95 inventory, while protecting the healthcare professional from contamination events. The shield is a clear barrier covering the user’s face that reduces the amount of virus contacting the user’s eyes and respiratory mask.

The collaboration is providing its GMP compliant face shield design to manufacturers free-of-charge, enabling them to use their facilities to produce the shields. Within just four days, the team’s collective resources developed a face shield Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and prototype that is available for use.

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