The Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) announced this week that it is entering into a collaboration with multiple entities to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus outbreak.
Atlanta-based GCMI is collaborating with Dr. Joanna Newton, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, 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.
In the collaboration, the team plans to provide designs —free of charge and with necessary regulatory guidance — for any Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant facility to use in the production and distribution of face shields to healthcare workers.
“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,” Newton said in a news release. “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.”
GCMI said the face shields are designed to extend the use life of the current N95 made by 3M (NYSE:MMM) while protecting healthcare workers from contamination. The shield is a clear barrier that covers the user’s face and reduces the amount of virus contacting the user’s eyes and their respiratory mask.
The GMP-compliant face shield design is now available to manufacturers for free and GCMI noted that, within four days, the team’s collective resources developed a face shield computer-aided design and prototype that is available for use.
“Our team has been working toward rapid response for the mass manufacturable face shields,” Georgia Tech George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering associate professor of manufacturing Chris Saldana said. “In coming up with this design, we have explored both rigid frame and origami- style face shields for open-source design and manufacture of these critical products. We have been fortunate to leverage multiple rapid prototyping and manufacturing capabilities at both Georgia Tech’s invention studio and at the Global Center for Medical Innovation.”