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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