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Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19888, 2021 10 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454817


To cope with the shortage of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, healthcare institutions were forced to reuse FFRs after applying different decontamination methods including gamma-irradiation (GIR). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of GIR on the filtration efficiency (FE) of FFRs and on SARS-CoV-2 detection. The FE of 2 FFRs types (KN95 and N95-3 M masks) was assessed at different particle sizes (0.3-5 µm) following GIR (0-15 kGy) delivered at either typical (1.65 kGy/h) or low (0.5088 kGy/h) dose rates. The detection of two SARS-CoV-2 RNA genes (E and RdRp4) following GIR (0-50 kGy) was carried out using RT-qPCR assay. Both masks showed an overall significant (P < 0.001) reduction in FE with increased GIR doses. No significant differences were observed between GIR dose rates on FE. The GIR exhibited significant increases (P ≤ 0.001) in the cycle threshold values (ΔCt) of both genes, with no detection following high doses. In conclusion, complete degradation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be achieved by high GIR (≥ 30 kGy), suggesting its potential use in FFRs decontamination. However, GIR exhibited adverse effects on FE in dose- and particle size-dependent manners, rendering its use to decontaminate FFRs debatable.

COVID-19/virology , Decontamination/methods , Masks , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Ventilators, Mechanical , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Filtration , Gamma Rays , Humans , Particle Size
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(13)2021 07 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295849


To cope with the shortage of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), healthcare institutions have been forced to reuse FFRs using different decontamination methods, including vapor hydrogen peroxide (VHP). However, most healthcare institutions still struggle with evaluating the effect of VHP on filtration efficiency (FE) of the decontaminated FFRs. We developed a low-cost in-house FE assessment using a novel 3D-printed air duct. Furthermore, we assessed the FE of seven types of FFRs. Following 10 VHP cycles, we evaluated the FE of KN95 and 3M-N95 masks. The 3M-N95 and Benehal-N95 masks showed significant lower FE (80.4-91.8%) at fine particle sizes (0.3-1 µm) compared to other FFRs (FE ≥ 98.1%, p < 0.05). Following 10 VHP cycles, the FE of KN95 masks was almost stable (FE stability > 99.1%) for all particle sizes, while 3M-N95 masks were stable only at 2 and 5 µm (FE stability > 98.0%). Statistically, FE stability of 3M-N95 masks at 0.3, 0.5, and 0.7 µm was significantly lower (p ≤ 0.006) than 2 and 5 µm. The in-house FE assessment may be used as an emergency procedure to validate the decontaminated FFRs, as well as a screening option for production control of FFRs. Following VHP cycles, both masks showed high stability at 5 µm, the size of the most suspected droplets implicated in COVID-19 transmission.

COVID-19 , Respiratory Protective Devices , Decontamination , Equipment Reuse , Filtration , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide , SARS-CoV-2 , Ventilators, Mechanical