Pakistani Volunteers Launch 3D-print Ventilators To Fight Against COVID-19

Corona virus has sent the international community into a frenzy. As people are shut in Quarantine and need to take special precautions to ensure they don’t get disease, some people still end up becoming a victim of Covid-19. With the exponential increase of cases, the equipment needed to conduct the test has been strictly limited and now have been running short. Hence, a group of Pakistani volunteers are issuing 3D printing facility to manufacture the products needed in this cause.

Pakistan Against COVID19-Volunteers (PAC-V) is a group of local volunteers that was formed recently and are using 3D printing to manufacture all the necessary medical and safety equipment needed to deal with Corona virus. This primarily include manufacturing kits, masks and even ventilators in an effort to deal with the deadly contagion. The group aims to produce affordable ventilators, respiratory valves, locally on an industrial scale as quick as possible. Hence, the 3D printing process adds to this as it builds a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design model by adding material layer by layer, therefore making it a quick model or method to reproduce on a large scale. Dr Bilal Siddiqui, the initiative lead, spoke to the Express Tribune and said that: “Our first 3D ventilator prototype will be ready for testing in 10 days. And it could be out within a fortnight… We are also 3D printing a splitter which would allow medics to use one vent to ventilate up to four patients”.

They are also developing a non contact thermometer to check temperature of corona patients. He stated that: “The Chinese-made non-contact thermometer was available in the market at Rs3,500 before the viral outbreak. Now its price has shot up to Rs35,000 apiece.. Our non-contact thermometer will be much more affordable. We have done its lab test and sent it to the Punjab Health Department for field testing”.

 The volunteers of his group have also locally designed hazmat suits, facemasks and face shields. The team consists of doctors, biomedical professionals, engineers, academics, diaspora, resource mobilisers and other smaller groups. He said: “We started field activity with a meager amount of Rs10,000, but within two nights Rs300,000 were pitched in…We got in touch with doctors at top hospitals in Pakistan, including Aga Khan Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital and Indus Hospital in Karachi and Shifa International in Islamabad before launching the initiative”.

Dr Siddiqui also spoke about how the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and various universities have shown interest in their initiative. Once the equipment are developed, tested and approved for medical use, then they will be deployed across the nation. He concluded by saying: “Arrangements are underway for making available the funds for mass manufacturing by connecting the idle 3D printer capacity as farms, and coordinating a manufacturing grid across the nation”.