Volunteers around the world are trying to do as much as possible to help the ongoing containment efforts of coronavirus or COVID-19 across the world. One such group of volunteers in Italy manufactured a 3D printed breathing valve that is crucial in treating COVID-19 patients that costed only $1. The same valve typically costs about $11,000 from medical device manufactures.
The manufacturer has threatened to sue this group of volunteers for their disruptive technology, Techdirt reported.
Company threatened to sue them
A hospital in Italy was running out of such valves while treating COVID-19 patients. Metro reported that the suppliers couldn't make such valves in time. Volunteers, Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Ramaioli, working at Italian startup Isinnova, in an effort to 3D print such valves using their printer, asked the valve manufacturers for blueprints in order to use them, reported Business Insider Italia. This was when; the company who they approached for help declined and threatened to sue for patent infringement.
The hospital's usual supplier stated that they could not make the valves in required time for the treatment of the patients, as per Metro. This started a search for the way to 3D print a replica part, and Cristian Fracassi, Alessandro Ramaiol offered their company's printer for performing the job, reported Business Insider.
However, the volunteers moved on in their efforts by measuring the existing valves to 3D print different versions of them. Massimo Temporelli, founder of a manufacturing compant FabLab helped the pair to work. He wrote in his Facebook post on March 15, "Currently 10 patients are accompanied by a 3D printed valve machine. Indeed we have to give a big round of applause to Eng. Cristian Fracassi who, with his team designed and printed the 3D missing piece. All, at the speed of light. You are heroes! I am happy..."
'Don't call us heroes'
Cristian Fracassi wrote in his Facebook post "Firstly, don't call us, as some have, heroes. Sure, people were about to die, but we only did our duty. Refusing would not have been a cowardly act, but murderous." He added, that it was not a genius act but only application of a physical principle. "We have no intention of profit on this situation, we are not going to use the designs or product beyond the strict need for us forced to act, we are not going to spread the drawing," He credited Giovanni Battista Venturi, Italian physicist who found the principle used in the valve.
Italy's Minister of Technological Innovation Paola Pisano shared the valves on Twitter.
Italy has 31,506 confirmed cases, only next to China to be worst affected with more than 2,500 reported deaths and 2,941 recoveries.