Duke makes 3D-printed face shields for Duke Health, UNC Health to ease equipment shortage during COVID-19 pandemic

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- In these difficult times, even Duke University and the University of North Carolina are joining forces to address the protective equipment shortage.

In an effort to ease the shortage of personal protective equipment for medical workers, a team at Duke University printed reusable face shields for workers at Duke Health and UNC Health.

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In a news release, Duke said more than two dozen Duke nurses, graduate students and medical professionals tested the shields in a simulation lab.

The first batch of the shields will go to health care workers Friday. Duke and UNC plan to send the designs to manufacturing facilities, where Duke said it expects thousands of shields will be created every day.

"In the past couple of years we have assembled a very creative and capable team of engineers with extensive industry experience in medical device design, who have already been working closely with Duke clinicians," said Ken Gall, associate dean for entrepreneurship at Duke Engineering and associate director of Duke MEDx, in a written statement. "Everyone has pivoted quickly to work with our Duke Health colleagues on COVID-19 solutions and support -- as they identify needs, we are jumping on them to help."

Saturday, NC State also said it is making about 80 face shields per day for local health care workers.

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Face shields are among the personal protective equipment the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management requested from the federal stockpile. According to state data, of 500,000 requested face shields, the state has received 113,184.

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