3D Printing to Support the Shortage in Personal Protective Equipment Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic

Materials (Basel). 2020 Jul 27;13(15):3339. doi: 10.3390/ma13153339.


Currently, the emergence of a novel human coronavirus disease, named COVID-19, has become a great global public health concern causing severe respiratory tract infections in humans. Yet, there is no specific vaccine or treatment for this COVID-19 where anti-disease measures rely on preventing or slowing the transmission of infection from one person to another. In particularly, there is a growing effort to prevent or reduce transmission to frontline healthcare professionals. However, it is becoming an increasingly international concern respecting the shortage in the supply chain of critical single-use personal protective equipment (PPE). To that scope, we aim in the present work to provide a comprehensive overview of the latest 3D printing efforts against COVID-19, including professional additive manufacturing (AM) providers, makers and designers in the 3D printing community. Through this review paper, the response to several questions and inquiries regarding the following issues are addressed: technical factors connected with AM processes; recommendations for testing and characterizing medical devices that additively manufactured; AM materials that can be used for medical devices; biological concerns of final 3D printed medical parts, comprising biocompatibility, cleaning and sterility; and limitations of AM technology.

Keywords: COVID-19; additive manufacturing/3D printing; material biocompatibility; medical devices; novel coronavirus; personal protective equipment; technical considerations.

Publication types

  • Review