N95 masks can be decontaminated for reuse: Report

Bhubaneswar: Considering the rapid spread of the deadly novel coronavirus across the globe, health care professionals are facing acute shortage of safety gears, including N95 masks. While they were advised to be used for one time only, now researchers and scientists have been looking at different ways with reuse of masks and decontamination methods.

N95 masks are designed for single-use and are worn by the health care workers to minimise their chances of being exposed to infectious agents, which includes SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19. Even the scientists at the National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed that the N95 masks can be decontaminated and reused effectively.

The four methods of decontamination test included vaporised hydrogen peroxide(VHP), 70-degree Celsius dry heat, ultraviolet light and 70% ethanol spray. The researchers observed that all four methods can eliminate viable virus from the test samples of N95 fabric.

Further to test the fit and seal of the mask over the face, volunteers wore the respirators for two hours. The researchers repeated decontamination three times using the mask with the same procedure. However, masks treated with the VHP experienced no failures. Hence, they could be re-used three times, reported New York Times.

The researchers first tested samples of N95 material to which live virus was exposed.

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