Markforged is starting the printing process to help with the shortage of protective gear hospitals are experiencing across the Commonwealth.
Medical professionals say they are running out of the essentials that keep them safe while treating the sick as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Testing for the virus has also been limited due to a lack of kits.
Markforged is trying to change that fact by 3D printing special swabs used to collect cells to be tested for COVID-19 and face shields to keep medical professionals safe.
“The nice thing about 3D printing is that it’s very fast.” CEO Greg Mark said. “Get a group of 20 printers and printing 10 to 14,000 swabs a day. In order to make the swab correct, it has to be flexible to go through your nose, but not so stiff that it pokes you,” Mark said.
Markforged says it hopes to have the swab in just a matter of days.
That design can then be sent to 3D printers at hospitals and coronavirus test sites around the country. Each swab would cost less than 25 cents.
As for the face shields, the first batch is being tested at some Boston hospitals.
If all goes according to plan, the shield could go from the printer to the hospital room in about 10 hours.
The company said they hope the FDA will fast track these 3D printed products for use on patients as soon as possible.