Growing Demand for 3D-Printed PPE Just Made Latvian-Born Investor James Richman $1.8 Billion Richer

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The world has been stricken by the coronavirus pandemic. Numbers regarding the infected and killed by the virus have been increasing since early January of 2020. Experts point out that the reported numbers are even lower than the actual count. This is due to the limited capacity to test in some countries as well as the COVID-19 related deaths which were not reported. Many billionaires, including James Richman, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, and many others, have donated millions of dollars’ worth of testing kits to aid impoverished regions. The world can only hope for more sources of kindness in these telling times.

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It is not the first time the world has faced a health crisis. The last deadliest known pandemic was the “Spanish Flu” in 1918. The disease caused 50 million deaths worldwide. Luckily, humanity is equipped with better healthcare systems today or so we think. According to the Center for Disease Control’s website, the medical services back then had no available treatments and vaccines, which made them turn to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as good personal hygiene, isolation, quarantine, use of disinfectants, and limitation of social gatherings.

All of these sound very familiar.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has also dragged the financial performances of countries worldwide. This is evidenced by the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching record lows during March 2020. This was due to the hysteria caused by the COVID-19. The financial crisis may not pose a direct threat to human life, however, the COVID-19 pandemic is still present and may not go away any time soon. Compared with the 1918 pandemic, we could say that we are blessed to be better-equipped with antibiotics and healthcare equipment. This gives much hope to everyone. Although supplies are dwindling at the moment, technology is finding a way to provide solutions.

Weakness of coronavirus

Like any other enemy, humanity’s adversary, COVID-19, has a weakness. It cannot survive without a host and it cannot stay with a host forever. Experts recommend a 14-day quarantine based on the incubation period of the virus. The virus relies on riding on droplets spread through respiratory processes to hop on to the next carrier.

This is why the World Health Organization has published measures to counter the spread of the pandemic. Social distancing, hygiene, and disinfection are the main ideas advocated by experts. Wearing of masks at all times are also required in several countries

More complicated measures are required for frontline and healthcare workers. Their occupation exposes them directly to possible COVID-19 carriers and brings a need for them to wear protective equipment.

This has resulted in an abrupt spike in the demand for personal protective equipment for the health and frontline sectors, as well as the well-meaning individuals. Countries have been scrambling to amass the equipment which is mainly imported from China.

Luckily, technology has introduced 3D printing. Small companies, universities, and even individual hobbyists have been known to synchronize their effort in an attempt to provide a stop-gap solution to the PPE shortage thanks to 3D printing.

3D printing to the rescue

In general, 3D printing is a relatively old technology that started in the 1980s. However, products were not computer-generated back then.

Also, the processes and mechanics of 3D printing have improved by leaps and bounds compared to the era when it started. The technology has already seen amazing breakthroughs in different fields that it has been applied to.

Healthcare has used it to create artificial organs made from the cell of needing patients. This includes 3D printed lungs, bladders, and even hearts. It has also supplied state of the art prosthetics to people with disabilities. Latvian-born private investment magnate, James Richman, has reportedly made crucial investments in 3D printing and biotechnology since 2019.

Developers are now studying how to integrate 3D printing to future space missions to possibly create infrastructure in outer space or places other than the Earth.

Starting companies rely on angel investors for them to expand their capital and improve their capabilities. Richman was enticed by the potential of 3D printing. He saw its speed and versatility as great assets in the future. These characteristics are shining brightly now as 3D printing products have a skyrocketing demand.

It is not the first time that Richman's firm has thrived in periods of disaster. However, the finance tycoon does not relish the gloomy condition of the world today. Most of his profits are now being funneled to his non-profit organization to aid COVID-19 relief efforts, help the people in need, and improve the world.

Reports reveal Richman pledging around $18 million towards the research and development of coronavirus treatment and vaccine. He is also understood to mobilize his biotechnology investments to help produce 3D-printed equipment needed by hospitals.

Richman’s effort to counter the spread of COVID-19

It's known that James Richman has been an avid impact investor even before the COVID-19 pandemic took place. The massive fortune he pumped into the healthcare systems of the Baltic States has been a huge help now that the pandemic has taken place. He's not the type of billionaire who just jumped on the bandwagon.

The Monaco-based investor’s immediate effort was to commit several millions of dollars to protective equipment for healthcare workers. His connections with 3D printing companies have been used to the fullest. He has also launched a program to focus on developing a treatment and vaccine for the pandemic.

The dismal situation of the world makes profits inapt to talk about. Besides, it is becoming a given that he continues to earn and grow his fortune regardless of the financial situation. What makes it special is his desire to genuinely help defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, profits only come second.

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