3D Printing and COVID-19, May 1, 2020 Update

1 May, 2020

University Hospital Leuven in Belgium has begun using the Materialise Passive NIP (non-invasive positive end-expiratory pressure) mask to treat its first patients. The device is meant to deliver oxygen and high pressure to a patient’s lungs, pushing back the fluids in the lung to allow for greater oxygen absorption into the bloodstream. The mask is made up of a 3D-printed connector that holds together three standard medical devices—a mask, an air filter and a PEEP valve—and is hooked up to an oxygen source. The hospital has determined that the mask works simply and that the combination of its filter and tight seal could reduce the spread of aerosols.

Imperial College London is using 3D Systems’ Figure 4 system to create a handheld diagnostic device for molecular testing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The lab-on-a-chip platform is meant to perform an analysis of nasopharyngeal samples in under 30 minutes. A batch of over 100 units will be manufactured for clinical validation at Hammersmith Hospital in London this June. Production will then be increased over the next six months to perform 1,000 tests monthly.

3D printing service bureau FATHOM is leveraging its in-house Multi Jet Fusion technology to 3D print nasopharyngeal test swabs with the ability to make 100,000 weekly. After FATHOM customer Abiogenix designed the most-preferred swab, according to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s recent clinical trial, the service provider is aiming to ramp up production to a million swabs per week.


Private wireless company Rajant Corporation in Pennsylvania is leveraging two ‘Ender Pro 3’ 3D printers to produce PLA face masks. These masks cannot be used to substitute N95 masks, having not been certified, but the company believes they can be used in the general population. To learn more about the differences between various masks (and their safety) read our interview with Dr. Beth Ripley,  Director of the VA 3D Printing Network. To learn more about the variety of ventilator projects (and their safety), read our interview with Todd Goldstein, PhD, director of 3D Design and Innovation at Northwell Health.