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3D Printing Vital Equipment for COVID-19

Living in the epicenter of the coronavirus plague is a surreal experience. Outside my window, New York City appears serene – devoid of its former noise, bustle, and loud citizenry. However, a few blocks north, south, and east it is a war zone with fatalities piling so high that administrators are utilizing mass graves. One of the most maddening images of the early days of the crisis was seeing nurses wearing Hefty garbage bags as Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Congress passed the 1941 Fifth Supplemental DoD Appropriations Act which mandated that all military uniforms be manufactured domestically citing national security. In 1952, this Act was expanded and renamed The Berry Amendment, requiring the Department of Defense “to give preference in procurement to domestically produced, manufactured, or home-grown products, most notably food, cloth, fabrics, and specialty metals.” Tragically, even after past global epidemics (e.g., H5N1, SARS, MERS, and Ebola) the Federal Government failed to expand The Berry Amendment to include medical supplies to prepare for the next global pandemic.

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