Covid-19: Using research capacity to contribute to national efforts

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Institut Mines-Télécom schools have produced, and continue to produce, face shields and parts for face shields and respirators using 3D printers, sometimes brought to faculty members’ homes.

To produce these face shields, a 3D printer is used to make a frame (upper part) or frames (upper and lower parts), and a shield, usually a transparent A4 sheet used for report covers (a sheet that can be changed often), is clipped into the frame.

The schools contributing to these efforts are: IMT Lille Douai, IMT Mines Alès, Mines Saint-Étienne and InSIC. In addition, with support from local authorities, Télécom SudParis is helping coordinate all the fablabs in the Southern Paris region.

Décathlon mask for health care workers and patients

Mines Saint-Étienne took part in the co-creation/ideation group with Decathlon and Stanford University to turn the “Easybreath” mask into a respiratory protection mask for health care workers and patients. The product will be produced on a large scale – once it receives FDA approval (pending), and will be widely deployed in the United States.

Validation bench for masks

Recycled masks:

A consortium organized by the University of Grenoble and Grenoble University Hospital, which includes CEA, INRS, Inserm and IMT, is working on making it possible to recycle masks (using various techniques for sterilization, washing with detergent at 60 or 95 °C, autoclaving at 121°C for 50 minutes, irradiation with gamma or beta rays, exposure to ethylene oxide or heating at 70°C with dry heat or in water).

IMT Atlantique is working on a validation bench to test the filtration performance  of the masks after these various treatments. Mines Saint-Étienne is in the process of joining the consortium to verify the filtration from a biological viewpoint.

Validating new mask production

As industrial companies are starting to manufacture masks for health care workers, Mines Saint-Étienne is working with the DGA (French Government Defense Procurement and Technology Agency) to calibrate the filtering capacity of the mask prototypes produced by three manufacturers, in accordance with TULIP and DGA protocols. The goal is to measure biological filtering by testing aerosols with viral and bacterial loads.

Digital tools to optimize organizations

Mines Saint-Étienne’s Center for Biomedical and Healthcare Engineering has made its tools (digital twins, simulators) available to the Saint-Étienne University Hospital to help optimize the organization and patient pathways as departments move into crisis mode configurations. These tools have also been made available to the Mutualité de Saint-Étienne to optimize the management of strategic reserves of masks (headed by Thierry Garaix).

Adapting to the crisis situation

The Henri Fayol Institute at Mines Saint-Étienne is leading a working group on the agility of production systems when faced with logistical limitations, in connection with the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region.

Coronacheck tool to filter fake news

EURECOM has developed the Coronacheck tool to verify information, following research carried out previously with professor Immanuel Trummer from Cornell University. It is the first entirely automated filtering tool based on statistics (machine learning), which can be supplemented by investigative work.