The Office of the Vice President together with fashion designer Mich Dulce will begin the production of the first medically-reviewed and open-sourced personal protective equipment (PPE).
In a statement on Facebook, Vice President Leni Robredo said they can now go "full steam" into production after their prototype using Tafetta Silver Back Lining, which was made by Joey Socco, was approved on Sunday afternoon.
“It took us more than 48 hours of going back and forth and this afternoon, finally, our prototype has been approved!!! The one approved was made by Joey Socco using Tafetta Silver Back Lining,” she said.
“We can go full steam into production now,” Robredo added.
Robredo said the design was medically reviewed in Berkeley, California and it was recommended that the material Tyvek should be used for the suit.
However, she said Tyvek is a construction material commonly found in hardware stores in other countries and not in the Philippines.
With this, her team asked help from local fabric suppliers and doctors to look for similar materials that will still safeguard the country’s health care workers from the virus.
She was eventually linked to Dr. Jesus Julio Ancheta, an infectious diseases specialist, who said the Tafetta Silver Back Lining was the perfect material to use.
Robredo added the fabric is also reusable.
Last March 26, Dulce and her team in Manila created the first medically-reviewed open source PPE suit design to help with the shortage that frontliners are facing in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Dulce’s team “reverse engineered” an existing isolation suit design lent to them by Robredo and turned it into a pattern. They even made it available online for everyone to copy.
While the pattern available is in large size only, Robredo said Dulce is building another pattern for small, medium and a two-piece version “so it will be easier for bathroom breaks.”
“The pattern is for everyone’s consumption. We will be producing in bulk but you can all have your local mananahis make them for your own health frontliners, especially those in the provinces,” Robredo said.
She emphasized that Tafetta Silver Back Lining ensured the “utmost protection.”
Robredo thanked Dulce and her colleagues for answering her call to help design a protective suit for the country’s medical workers.
“Super special thanks to Mich for the many sleepless nights and her colleagues who answered the call. You guys are the best,” she said.
She also thanked the doctors she consulted for the prototype.
“Our special thanks to Dr. Espiritu and Dr. Ancheta for bearing with us and for giving us their most important counsel.”
Aside from the OVP and Dulce, many people have stepped in and started making PPE alternatives including doctors and volunteers from Baguio, students from the Technological University of the Philippines - Visayas and medical interns at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health.
As of March 29, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 1,418 including 71 deaths and 42 recoveries. — DVM, GMA News