Fashion designers get doctor's approval to mass produce reusable protective gear for COVID-19 frontliners

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 30) — Fashion designers who are customizing protective suits for COVID-19 frontline workers have gotten a doctor's approval to push through with their initiative and create more for those in need.

In a Facebook post on Sunday evening, designer Mich Dulce shared that the first suit that they created for direct and critical exposure to COVID-19 patients has recently been approved by Infectious Diseases Specialist and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jesus Julio Ancheta of The Medical City Sta. Rosa Laguna.

"Thank you Lord!!! Napasigaw kami sa saya!!!" Dulce's post read.

Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo, who has been coordinating with the team for the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and facilitating the approval, also made the announcement in her Facebook account.

"It took us more than 48 hours of going back and forth and this afternoon, finally, our prototype has been approved!!!" Robredo said.

The approved pattern was made by Joey Socco using Tafetta Silver Back Lining, a water repellent fabric used for umbrellas and raincoats, she added.

Dulce noted that the approved material, which can be reused and disinfected multiple times, was donated by Dr. Reina Tajonera and Dothy Atienza, using the patterns and techpack made by Kendi Maristela, Lea Empalmado, and AJ Dimarucot.

The designer added that they based their design from an infection, prevention and control source for severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS.

"Existing evidence from IPC source for SARS was used for a basis for this, and the article says that 15 minutes autoclaving is effective to kill the virus. So the Tafetta SBL can take it!!" Dulce added.

Dulce and Robredo appealed to designers to create the suits in large size for the meantime, as they will be uploading another approved pattern graded for small and medium sizes, and a two-piece version.

"For everyone who is making using other fabrics, don't worry. They can still be allocated to other health workers / staff appropriately! Let's just all keep making what we can!!" said Dulce.

"The pattern is for everyone's consumption. We will be producing in bulk but you can all have your local mananahis make them for your own health frontliners, especially those in the provinces. Please just make sure you use Tafetta SBL to ensure utmost protection. The good thing about this is this is reusable," the Vice President noted.

The link to the approved pattern can be found here.

To date, the Office of the Vice President has delivered 32,325 PPE sets to 103 hospitals and communities in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon. It has also received over P37 million for its COVID-19 efforts with the help of its partners under its Angat Buhay initiative.

On Sunday, the Philippines recorded 345 additional COVID-19 cases, the largest single-day surge since the outbreak began, bringing the new total to 1,418 in the country. There are a total of 71 deaths and 42 recoveries from the infection so far.