A cardiologist at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise is working with a Garden City 3D printing company to develop a reusable protective mask for potential use by health care workers.
Dr. Ilyas Colombowala and Intermountain 3D have created a mask with a removable filter made out of surgical wrap, a material used in the sterilization of surgical tools and easily found in hospitals, Saint Al’s announced in a press release Wednesday.
The mask is modeled after other 3D printed masks, like ones popularized by Billings, Montana, inventors, but has a modified design that improves the filtration, fit and comfort of the mask. The mask is printed from medical grade nylon, and the filter fits around another 3D printed cartridge that is inserted into the front of the mask.
The mask is being developed to back up the more popular and desperately needed N95 masks that have been in short supply all over the world, according to Saint Al’s.
“The idea behind developing this mask was to have backup, a contingency plan, something that was a suitable alternative if we get to the point where we need this type of thing,” Colombowala said in the release.
The mask’s design files have been put out online for others to tinker with, and masks are being sold at cost by Intermountain 3D. Saint Alphonsus is not using them, according to spokesman Mark Snider, because they are not FDA approved for clinical use yet. Intermountain 3D is currently in the process of applying for approval from the federal government. But the masks have been in demand.
“There are people in other states and countries who have seen his masks and have asked to get them,” Snider said.