Testing of the new entirely Czech-designed protective half-mask that was developed within one week by the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University in Prague (CIIRC CTU) under the name „CIIRC RP95-3D“ as a protection against the coronavirus, continues successfully. This personal protective device with an exchangeable filter that meets the highest level of protection has been subjected to further testing in the National Reference Laboratory of the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH). This time, the purpose of the testing was to verify that the half-mask keeps all of its declared characteristics after being subjected to professional sterilization. All procedures are being consulted with leading health experts thanks to the active involvement of the Czech Society of Cardiology.
In the past two days, the team of CIIRC CTU researchers focused on identifying procedures that would allow for the longest time of use of this PPD. It was only last week that the set, consisting of the body of the mask printed on special 3D printers and an external P3 grade filter, was certified according to the EN 140:1999 norm, thus meeting the same or even higher degree of protection as a FFP3 respirator.
The scientists focused on finding out whether the half-mask would retain its protective properties even after sterilization. Proper and safe sterilization procedures were consulted with a team from the Czech Society of Cardiology, the same as the procedure for proper disinfection. It has been proven that even after sterilization in an autoclave – a steam sterilizer commonly used in many hospitals, laboratories and doctor’s offices for sterilization of materials under high pressure and temperature – the safety of the half-mask was maintained.
This testing was carried out yesterday by the National Reference Laboratory of the National Institute of Public Health and the air-tightness of the half-mask was subsequently confirmed by the laboratory of the Research Institute of Occupational Safety. The CIIRC R95-3D is ready for use in the most difficult clinical environments and has proven to be reusable.
“I’m very glad that the development of the respirator is moving forward so fast. It seems that it could help not only in the Czech Republic but also in other affected countries such as in Italy which it could take it for its own production. This is another example of Industry 4.0, ”says CTU Rector Vojtěch Petráček.
„The Czech Society of Cardiology considers the success of CIIRC CTU in developing the CIIRC RP95-3D protective mask in such a short period of time an extraordinary benefit for doctors treating patients with suspected or proven Covid 19 disease,“ said prof. Aleš Linhart from the 1. Faculty of Medicine at the Charles University and General University Hospital in Prague, and Chairman of the Czech Society of Cardiology, that provides the CIIRC CTU team with valuable consultations and is at work preparing testing of the half-mask in outpatient practice. „The option to change filters and the possibility of effective sterilization and disinfection of the face part of the half-mask is good news as it will make it possible to use the mask repeatedly to ensure the safety of healthcare professionals in their hazardous work,“ said cardiologist Tomáš Kára.
Yesterday, thanks to the cooperation between the Czech Ministry of Health, CTU start-up company Trix Connections and 3Dees Industries, the official HP 3D Printing distributor for the Czech Republic, a non-commercial order of 40,000 pieces of CIIRC RP95-3D half-mask was confirmed at a cost price. „Based on the license awarded by Trix Connections we are providing technical support, coordinate all manufacturing logistics and the assembly of masks with all HP 3D printer operators that joined in to produce the mask,“ said Miloš Blaškovan, one of the founders of 3Dees Industries.
„The development of the protective mask continues. The next step is, besides preparing a prototype for mass production by injection molding, also further testing in the medical field,“ added Vít Dočkal on behalf of the CIIRC CTU research team.
The CIIRC RP95-3D is a personal protective device designed primarily for the protection of teams deployed in areas with the highest risk of infection. Therefore it delivers a high degree of individual protection mainly to medical professionals. It protects its bearer even at the cost of providing a lesser degree of protection to the ambient environment. A number of FFP3 class protective devices available on the market are commonly based on this principle.
The mask is not primarily developed for common wear but is intended for the most threatened workers especially in hospitals who face a daily threat of infection. For the purpose of exhalation, it is equipped with a specially adapted exhalation valve that is fitted with a silicone membrane. The air comes out but thanks to the technical adjustment the dispersion ratio is absolutely minimal. Nevertheless, according to a verified practice by doctors from Wuhan in China and other coronavirus affected areas, the CIIRC RP95-3D can be used with an additional surgical mask to increase the protection of the ambient environment and minimize risks.
photo: CIIRC CTU 2020