We are almost halfway through the year and we have been grappling against COVID-19 pandemic to no avail. We can’t see the silver lining yet for now but until the right vaccine comes and has been made available to the public, we may need to rely first on various pro tem countermeasures to help curb the further spread of the virus and prevent the greater number of people from getting infected by a coronavirus.
This health concern of a global scale has wrought an unimaginable amount of pressure on our health care systems, causing the demand for hospital beds to spike at a whopping rate. Alongside this, there is also a surge in the demand for personal protective equipment or PPEs as well as with other essential medical products.
To make things worse, this public health emergency is now affecting the global supply chain since export limits, social distancing, and the growing scarcity of raw materials has been hindering our access to these important health care products. This scenario, as experts in the health care system agree, is bringing about unnecessary global medical device shortages.
We must have access and a steady supply of these medical devices since they are vital to our response measures against COVID-19.
We can tap into the 3D printing Perth industry to manufacture an array of medical devices and products for local consumption. This measure may not create a dramatic impact on global shortages of various medical products but will help us in allaying our local demand for those.
But, much like everything else, we need to make cautious, careful steps on this. Although we can have this emerging technology as an important stopgap in addressing this growing demand, local authorities need to assess not just the perceived benefits they can bring but we also need to look into potential risks as if there are any.
Besides, we need to see how we plan to use it for future emergencies.
Possible Demarcation Line for 3D Printing Perth in Light of COVID-19 Challenges
Right from the outset of this pandemic, the 3-dimensional printing of medical devices has been put into place in the country and in other parts of the globe, too. This includes the production of local PPEs, namely for face masks and face shields, nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs, and ventilator splitters. All these are critical to testing people suspected of COVID-19 infection.
3-dimensional printing, otherwise known in the manufacturing industry as an additive manufacturing technique, significantly helped the medical manufacturing community in recent months in filling up the production void for medical devices.
First, unlike the vast majority of medical device manufacturing firms, with their centralized facilities located mostly abroad — employing the use of 3D printing machines are relatively portable. You can also bring them to different sites and can transport them even to hospital institutions. What good does this signify then?
The scenario described above only goes to show that important medical supplies for COVID-19 will not be tied up anymore simply because one manufacturing plant needs to shut down due to the pandemic, or by virtue of other countries imposing regulations on export controls.
In a desperate attempt to address the growing demand for PPEs and other important medical devices, there are a handful of hospital institutions that have resorted to the use of 3D printing Perth technology in the production of the swabs they will use. Others looked to the possibility of acquiring them from other US companies.