Frequently Asked Questions

because you don't know if you dont ask

COVID-19

Why (not) make ventilators?

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) causes difficulty breathing as the result of fluid buildup in the lungs. It is one of the most common severe complications of COVID-19. Patients with ARDS often require mechanical ventilation to survive.

According to the American Hospital Association, it is possible that up to 900,000 people in the United States may need mechanical ventilation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Society of Critical Care Medicine estimates that approximately 200,000 are currently available.

Quickly increased ventilator production would make it possible to care for more critically ill patients.

Mechanical ventilation requires careful supervision by trained respiratory therapists to avoid complications, including permanent lung damage.

More ventilators will not improve the treatment of COVID-19 patients without enough medical professionals to use them.

Increasing ventilator supply is important, but people who are treating patients might benefit more from other supplies, such as PPE.

If you do not have knowledge or experience of mechanical ventilation and are not working with someone who does, you may be better off focusing on other projects. 

Why (not) 3D print / mass production, etc?

Every manufacturer depends on the supply of raw materials, components, and sub-assemblies from other factories that specialize in the production of those parts. The production speed of a complete product depends on the delivery time of those components and on the following assembling.

When manufacturers cannot deliver enough products on time when using standard mass-production methods, then 3D printing can be a solution. 3D printers and the raw materials after often off the shelf available and production can start as soon as the design drawings are ready. More traditional prototyping methods, such as CNC, can be an option if the design of the part lends itself for those techniques.

Respirator valves have already been 3D printed successfully in response to the increased need for mechanical ventilation in Italian hospitals. However, medical devices pose unique problems that require additional precautions in 3D printing.

Should I wear a mask?

Read here for a more complete description

Although for the general public wearing a surgical mask or similar does not provide protection from the possible exposure to the virus of COVID-19, It provides some level of protection to the bearer, but most importantly it protects others from possible emission of virus particles by the bearer who might be unaware of being infected.
Moreover wearing a mask hinders the possibility to touch mouth and nose and thus facilitate the intake of viruses that the hands may have collected touching contaminated surfaces.

Most importantly, everyone should avoid as much as possible situation where it is better wearing a mask. The large public should absolutely avoid those situation and use a mask always when exposed to situations requiring it because of primary necessities, such as food supply.

Here you can find a few simple guidelines. In China most people follows this simple points.

Can CPAP or BiPAP machines be used instead of a ventilator?

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It is a form of non-invasive ventilation in which mild, consistent air pressure is applied through a mask to keep the airway open and maintain oxygenation.

BiPAP stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. This is similar to CPAP but alternates periods of higher and lower pressure to make it easier for the patient to exhale.

CPAP and BiPAP are being used in the treatment of patients that have difficulty breathing, but these methods are being discouraged for treating COVID-19 patients.

CPAP and BiPAP increase the risk of aerosolizing the virus. If the virus gets airborne, then a higher percentage of other patients and caregivers will get infected. Optimal mask fit can minimize the risk, but cannot eliminate it.

It is also important to keep in mind that CPAP and BiPAP may not support patients enough. They might still need mechanical ventilation

Can we use an "iron lung" to help patients breathe?

The "iron lung" is a negative pressure ventilator. The traditional version is a chamber around the patient's body while leaving the head of the patient in the open air. A modern variant is a jacket-like device worn by the patient.

By lowering the air pressure inside the chamber to less than the air pressure outside the chamber, air flows into the patient's lungs. The lungs are emptied again by rising the air pressure inside the chamber back to the surrounding air pressure. This is the standard treatment for people who have breathing difficulties caused by neuromuscular disorders.

Downsides for using an iron lung with pneumonia

Healthcare

Can I reuse / recycle masks?

For the general public masks offer a generic protection to the one wearing the mask, but more importantly to those around, if the bearer is unknowingly infected.

For this level of protection and considering a limited use of the mask (one hour or less), then it makes sense to extend its use adopting some simple procedures.

The mask may be contaminated and thus must be properly handled when removing, storing, wearing again in case of reuse.

But more importantly masks can be sanitised exposing them for 30 minutes to dry air at 70 degrees. This can be easily achieved in a ventilated oven, at home. More suggestions are available here

Are 3D printed parts sterile?

3D printing often results in more porous surfaces than other production methods, making it easier for microbes to stick to the product. Sterile 3D printing exists, but it takes highly specialized procedures. Because of this, it is often only found in hospitals and research laboratories.

When not produced with already sterile material and under sterile conditions, the printed items need sterilization. Medical sterilization uses heat, radiation, and chemical processes. Devices made for use with patients must be able to withstand repeated exposure to these processes. Most common 3D printing materials will warp, melt, or lose tensile strength during sterilization.

Finance

Can I send a few thousand dollars to China within an hour?

There is a proven efficient way to send a relatively small amount of money to a private person in China, and it is absurdly fast. TransferWise is a financial operator specialised in international transfers, and it's very suitable for this task.

One of our team members started the registration process with TransferWise at 19:42 and 2,000 US dollar was received on the Chinese bank account before 20:57, converted to local currency.

And the fees are ridiculously low.

Please consider that there are limitations in place. This is a channel meant for private personal use, not for business. It is useful for moving some petty cash quickly. And it works to and from many countries with the same ease.

Please note that the link includes a referral code. This code does not imply costs for you. You can also take part in the referral program, which may award you small amounts. If you prefer to access the site directly, then the address is: https://transferwise.com/.

DIY

Are 3D printed parts sterile?

3D printing often results in more porous surfaces than other production methods, making it easier for microbes to stick to the product. Sterile 3D printing exists, but it takes highly specialized procedures. Because of this, it is often only found in hospitals and research laboratories.

When not produced with already sterile material and under sterile conditions, the printed items need sterilization. Medical sterilization uses heat, radiation, and chemical processes. Devices made for use with patients must be able to withstand repeated exposure to these processes. Most common 3D printing materials will warp, melt, or lose tensile strength during sterilization.

Traveling

Can I enter China with my valid visa or residence permit?

From 28 March 2020, access to China is limited to people holding a diplomatic visa or a courtesy C visa.

People coming to China for "necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs" may get access as well. The Chinese embassy in your country of residence will decide this.

However, if you can get a visa after 28 March, then you will have access to China. In this case, you will face a 14 day quarantine period at arrival.

The following text is the official announcement on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world, China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits still valid to the time of this announcement, effective from 0 a.m., 28 march 2020. Entry by foreign nationals with APEC Business Travel Cards will be suspended as well. Policies including port visas, 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit policy, Hainan 30-day visa-free policy, 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign cruise-group-tour through Shanghai Port, Guangdong 144-hour visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups from Hong Kong or Macao SAR, and Guangxi 15-day visa-free policy specified for foreign tour groups of ASEAN countries will also be temporarily suspended. Entry with diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals coming to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs may apply for visas at Chinese embassies or consulates. Entry by foreign nationals with visas issued after this announcement will not be affected.

The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries. China will stay in close touch with all sides and properly handle personnel exchanges with the rest of the world under the special circumstances. The above-mentioned measures will be calibrated in light of the evolving situation and announced accordingly.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China

What happens when my 60-day automatic visa extension expires?

A 30 day visa extension was issued yesterday by the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau to one of our members. It's the maximum extension the Shenzhen PSB can issue for a business M visa. The officer advised to return to the PSB at nearly expiry time to figure out the proper arrangement.

Apparently there is no special policy in place to follow up once the 60-day automatic visa extension has ended. Our experience is that no one will be forced to leave the country or put in a condition to not be able and legally stay, but rules will not be bent.

We recommend people who are facing visa expiration issues to spend time to show up at the PSB with plenty of patience and tolerance. Ask a very patient and competent Chinese speaker to join if you don't speak Chinese. Manage to get access to the officers, not only the employee at the front desk, and clearly explain your situation. Then ask what to apply for and follow the instructions.

Consider that as an ultima ratio you might be proposed to apply for a tourist visa which is the easiest type of visa that the PSB can issue with no special requirement, but the officer would also inform you that once you receive a tourist visa at the PSB office, you may not apply for any other type visa or resident permit without leaving China. Also, there would be limits to the scope of stay and activities you can perform.

The PSB is processing visas rapidly, especially in case your visa is expiring soon. It is an official requirement to apply for extension 15 days before the visa expires. Considering that you may need to prepare some document, it is better that you contact the PSB some 20 days in advance, even if they will very likely tell you to return after 15 days. You have better to play by the rules.

What happens when my business visa expires while I am in China?

On 27 February 2020, the Chinese government introduced the 60 day extension rule.

Visas that expired before 28 February were automatically extended until 27 April 2020.

Visas issued before 27 February which expire after 27 February are automatically extended 60 days from the normal expiration date.

Visas issued after 27 February do not enjoy the automatic extension.

Some visas allow for more than one entry, but have a stay imit for each entry. As per some member experience who were not able to leave China within the allowed stay period and the stay period expired before 27 February, then their business visa automatically expired with the original stay period end, and then the 60 days extension applied bringing the actual expiration date to 27 April.

This rule applies to all types of visas with an expiration date. If the visa is a Business visa it is possible to obtain a 30 day business visa extension at the PSB providing all required document. See what happens when my 60-day automatic visa extension expires?

Other questions

Is TroubleMaker open again?

Yes! TroubleMaker is open for members and visitors. Visitors, please make an appointment before dropping in because some visiting rules apply.

See you soon!