While China, although being the epicentre of Covid-19, now gets partially freed from the gnawing grips of the novel coronavirus, countries like Italy and the USA are terribly worried about the growing number of cases.
As the number of cases keeps on rising, the hospital authorities are now the most worried. The lack of equipment and facilities to accommodate and treat the huge bulk of patients in a row has now become a major concern for the medical staff.
When snorkels turn to medical masks
In response to this deficit, the doctors in Italy have found a new way out. To help the medical team in the crisis, the team of engineers at ISINNOVA (Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems) have taken a genius step and teamed up with Decathlon and medical experts to convert full-face snorkeling masks into the ventilator masks that can be hooked up to medical breathing machines that help those infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Doctors at the Maggiore Hospital in Parma are using a 3D printer to modify the masks so they connect to oxygen.
Apparatus successfully tested
Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Romaioli from Brescia - a northern Italian province badly hit by the pandemic – said the apparatus has been successfully tested on a patient.
According to the engineers, it was a doctor who first contacted them with an idea to make emergency ventilator masks using snorkelling equipment following their success at making valves for a hospital running short.
In ISINNOVA's website, the team says that they then designed a component to connect a Decathlon snorkelling mask to the breathing machine. The result is a "ventilation-assisted mask for hospitals in need of additional equipment", the two men wrote in The New York Times.
As BBC reports, the team took around three hours to produce the prototype and the 3D-printed valves that cost less than €1 (90p) each to make. Its also assured that only skilled specialists would have the print and do the assembling of these masks. In addition to this, ISINNOVA has also patented the valve to prevent any further speculation on pricing.