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VA’s Beth Ripley: Joint Effort With NIH, FDA Fills Health Equipment Supply Gaps

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The Department of Veterans Affairs, Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health are working with nonprofit organization America Makes to accelerate the manufacture of personal protective equipment, Federal News Network reported Thursday.

Beth Ripley, director of the Veterans Health Administration’s 3D printing network, said in an interview with the publication that the three entities partnered with America Makes to serve as a “matchmaker” between U.S. manufacturers to facilitate large-scale PPE production and deployment.

Ripley noted that the VA, NIH and FDA’s joint 3D printing effort is meant to fill gaps in the supply of equipment such as face shields and protective suits while traditional manufacturers work to catch up with current demands.

“So we bring clinical expertise within the VA, regulatory expertise and understanding what’s safe with the FDA, and the ability to share large datasets such as 3D printable files that the NIH 3D print exchange brings,” said Ripley. She added that she hopes to deploy new 3D printing concepts that can be integrated with traditional production in the coming weeks.

Ripley’s comments come after the VA, NIH and FDA announced the joint research and development initiative earlier this month.