Mexico City opens N95 mask factory to fight COVID-19

Mexico City opens N95 mask factory to fight COVID-19

Mexico City opens N95 mask factory to fight COVID-19

Mexico City
Eduardo Hernández & Salvador Corona
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The masks will be distributed among health institutes, hospitals, and healthcare workers fighting the new coronavirus

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Mexico City’s government, along with the National Autonomous University of Mexico and ATFIL, a company incubated at the Faculty of Engineering, has opened an N95 mask factory at the Xochimilco borough as part of the strategies to tackle the COVID-19 emergency.

According to the head of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation (SECTEI) Rosaura Ruiz Gutiérrez, the masks will be distributed among the main health institutes, hospitals, and healthcare workers attending to patients with COVID-19.

“The model we’re presenting is fundamental to protect healthcare workers, doctors, and nurses who are in contact with patients with COVID-19, “ she said.

Last April, Mexico City’s government presented a series of projects to develop through Red ECOs, along with public and private institutions, to tackle the health emergency caused by the new coronavirus.

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The operation and production capacity of the ATF-95 mask factory is of up to 40,000 daily pieces and they are expecting to produce a total of 6 million masks by December 31, 2020.

The general director of Technological Development and Innovation at the SECTEI, José Bernardo Rosas Fernández, stressed MXN $31.5 million have been invested in this project that includes the installation of machines, the place, and the production.

He explained that the high-efficiency masks are made with five layers for protection and filtering that are made with synthetic fabric (polyester fabric), a thermoformed material, and multiple layers of polypropylene that is highly efficient at filtering.

For the approval and correction of the quality standards, they perform penetration tests that measure the filtering of sodium chloride (NaCl) in the different layers with a photometer. The analysis with scanning electron microscopy shows the number of saline drops that go through the material.

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This factory has all certifications required for production, sale, and distribution issued by the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (COFEPRIS), and complies with Mexico’s NOM-116-STPS-2009 and the U.S. NIOSH 42 CFR 84 N95.

The UNAM’s administrative secretary and the co-manager of the project, Luis Agustín Álvarez-Icaza Longoria, said that the UNAM has been in charge of providing technical, monitoring, and administrative support to comply with all the quality standards.

In a press release, the SECTEI informed of the installation of a board with the National Coordination for Civil Protection of Mexico City’s Interior Ministry that will include public and private education institutions, national health institutions, science and technology councils from all over the country, as well as the private sector for the development of the projects.

The project will also include the production of 5 million graphene masks, 1,000 acrylic intubation boxes, robotic equipment, and ventilators, among other equipment that will be distributed among hospitals fighting COVID-19.

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The SECTEI will provide human and economic resources for the technological development of the prototypes.

The ITESM, the CINVESTAV, the IPN, the IIMAS, and the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Nutrition are designing an intelligent robot that will sterilize itself after leaving high-risk areas. It will be remotely operated through radiofrequency where it does not interfere with doctors. It will carry food and medications to patients, as well as a tablet so that they can interact with their relatives, doctors, and medical staff to prevent non-essential workers from entering the COVID-19 area.

The representatives of the National Network of Councils and State Organisms for Science and Technology presented a catalog of requirements and of the scientific works developed by each of its regions.

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