The valve usually costs about $11,000 — the volunteers made them for around $1
A medical device manufacturer has warned to sue a group of volunteers in Italy that 3D printed a valve used for life-saving coronavirus cures. The valve normally costs about $11,000 from the medical device manufacturer, but the volunteers were able to print copies for about $1.
A hospital in Italy was in need of the valves after drying up while treating patients for COVID-19. The hospital’s usual supplier said they could not make the valves in time for the patients, according to Metro. That launched a search for a way to 3D print a copy part. Italian journalist Nunzia Vallini put the hospital in connection with Isinnova chief executive Cristian Fracassi after learning the original supplier was unable to supply new valves quickly.
“We haven’t slept for two days,” Fracassi said.
Alessandro Ramaioli and Cristian Fracassi, who work at Italian startup Isinnova, proposed their company’s printer for the job.
Though, when the pair asked the producer of the valves for blueprints they could use to print copies, the company refused and warned to sue for patent infringement, according to Business Insider Italia. Fracassi and Ramaioli moved ahead anyhow by measuring the valves and 3D printing three different varieties of them.
The duo then joined forces with Lonati, another local 3D-printer company to meet the demand, as Isinnova has six printers and the devices take nearly an hour each to print.
Until now, the valves they made have worked on 10 patients as of March 14th, according to Massimo Temporelli, the creator of Italian manufacturing solutions company FabLab who helped hire Fracassi and Ramaioli to print the replica valves.
“We’re trying to save lives.”
“[The patients] were people in danger of life, and we performed. Period,” said Fracassi in a Facebook post. He also said that “we have no objective of profit on this situation, we are not going to use the product or designs beyond the strict need for us forced to act, we are not going to distribute the drawing.”