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Italian volunteers 3D print expensive life-saving coronavirus equipment for about $1

Italian volunteers 3D print expensive life-saving coronavirus equipment for about $1

A group of volunteers in Italy 3D printed 100 expensive valves used for life-saving coronavirus treatments in a day after a hospital ran out of them, BBC News reports.

The hospital in Brescia, Italy, a city in the Lombardy region, which is a coronavirus hotspot, had 250 patients in intensive care in need of assistance from breathing machines. The valves connect the patients with the breathing machines and can be used for eight hours each. 

3D printing business Isinnova reportedly lent a hand when the original supplier could not produce the valves quickly enough and managed to develop a prototype in three hours.

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"They tested it on a patient and they told us that it worked well and so we ran again back to our office and we started to print new valves," mechanical engineer Alessandro Romaioli told BBC News.

Isinnova has linked up with Lonati, another local 3D-printer company, to meet the demand for the valves.

According to Business Insider Italia, the original manufacturer sold the valve for over $10,000. 

The 3D-printed version costs about a dollar to produce, according to BBC.

As of Wednesday there are more than 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Italy, with just over 2,500 deaths.