Update on efforts to provide PPE for local hospitals

March 23, 2020

Dear colleagues:

We are updating the current MIT efforts for supporting hospital/medical center efforts.

As you know, local hospitals and medical centers are currently in need of personal protective equipment (PPE). The good news is that it appears that PPE stocks will likely be replenished within the coming days or weeks. As such, MIT’s immediate focus is on organizing donations, and on the immediate distribution of donated items. We are coordinating pick‐up and shipments of PPE items, and those items’ equitable distribution to area hospitals and medical facilities. For questions about donations, please contact donate-ppe@mit.edu.

We appreciate the good intentions of those of you who are thinking about ways to leverage MIT’s other assets and resources in this time of crisis. MIT is working with federal and state agencies, other local universities, and hospitals and medical centers to consider the possibility of moving beyond donation to manufacturing and/or sterilization and reuse of PPE items.

As we progress, we emphasize that we encourage contributions of PPE marketed with regulatory approval directedly to hospitals of choice or through the MIT program, and creative ways of assisting with harnessing of MIT resources to aid in the Covid effort. Nonetheless, please remind your units that access to MIT facilities must still be on an approved basis for specific people by name.

Moreover, MIT faculty, staff, or students should not be making and then distributing PPEs fabricated at MIT for clinical use until such efforts are vetted and sanctioned by MIT. In addition, there can be no receipt of any clinical materials from hospitals or any infected venue until and unless approval is obtained from the Office of the Vice President for Research subsequent to manufacture‐ppe review.

To best coordinate our efforts, we have created a governance team to formulate guidelines for any such approaches to 3D printing, manufacturing, and/or sterilization of PPE for use in a medical facility. We are closely collaborating with manufacturers of PPEs, ventilators, and respirators, as well as with hospitals to better understand the critical biological, medical, and engineering parameters and needs. Time is needed to coordinate and address issues related to quality control, testing, efficacy, and safety — both for our community and for target users. We do not yet have full specifications on how to build these items with sufficient quality control or quantity, or on any tests required for new products to enter, or re‐sterilized products to re‐enter into the clinical supply chain.

Our governance team on manufacturing opportunities is being sponsored by Maria Zuber, and led by Peter Fisher and Marty Culpepper and colleagues in various departments, especially Aeronautics and Astronautics. We remind the community that 3D printing is best applied at this time to prototype development, which would then feed into a traditional manufacturing process. A dedicated task force focused on examining PPE sterilization for reuse has been created as well in consultation with Tolga Durak and Michael Yaffe and here especially with colleagues in Nuclear Science and Engineering, as well as at other area academic and medical institutions.

Various alternatives are being considered — including work at MIT, assistance from MIT with work conducted at hospitals, and the involvement of national industrial resources. We will soon know more about what our community can be doing, in both manufacturing and reuse, that would be most helpful, and guidelines and collation of best practices will then be created for dissemination.

We are in the process of inventorying broader MIT resources in all of these capacities, and welcome your input and involvement. Please contact manufacture‐ppe@mit.edu if you would like to contribute resources or skills.


Maria T. Zuber, Vice President of Research
Elazer R. Edelman on behalf of MIT‐medical outreach team