ROCHESTER, Minn. ― To help in educating the public and in the hope of better conveying the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 3D Anatomic Modeling Lab at Mayo Clinic in Rochester has printed a 3D model of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection.
Jonathan Morris, M.D., medical director of the 3D Anatomic Modeling Lab at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, says because the virus cannot be seen with the naked eye, it may not be perceived by some as a real threat.
"This may be a vital tool for colleagues to really drive home the seriousness of this virus. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a model is worth a thousand pictures," Dr. Morris says. "What we've seen through our 3D printing practice is that models help people fundamentally understand something they just couldn't through pictures. We believe this could do the same for people who maybe aren't convinced yet about the seriousness of the virus and the importance of self-isolation."
He also envisions Mayo's infectious diseases experts using the model to describe how SARS-CoV-2 causes infections.
"This model may help better explain how the virus works and what it is doing in the body, and why it's important to limit our contact with others," he adds. "We still have people doing public gatherings, even here in Minnesota ― people who are not taking this seriously like they should. And having a 3D-printed representation of this deadly virus could help folks grasp how important it is right now while there is still time to 'flatten the curve.'"
The 3D Anatomic Modeling Labs at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Rochester have used 3D printers to produce hands-free door openers for use around Mayo Clinic, and the lab at Mayo Clinic in Florida is working on doing the same.
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