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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(6)2022 03 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742435

ABSTRACT

The current coronavirus pandemic has increased worldwide consumption of individual protective devices. Single-use surgical masks are one of the most used devices to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Nevertheless, the improper management of such protective equipment threatens our environment with a new form of plastic pollution. With the intention of contributing to a responsible policy of recycling, in the present work, five decontamination methods for used surgical masks that can be easily replicated with common household equipment are described. The decontamination procedures were hot water at 40 °C and 80 °C; autoclave; microwave at 750 W; and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. After each decontamination procedure, the bacterial load reduction of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538 was recorded to verify the effectiveness of these methods and, moreover, bacterial filtration efficiency and breathability tests were performed to evaluate mask performances. The best results were obtained with the immersion in 80 °C water and the microwave-assisted sterilization. Both methods achieved a high degree of mask decontamination without altering the filtration efficiency and breathability, in accordance with the quality standard. The proposed decontamination methods represent a useful approach to reduce the environmental impact of this new waste material. Moreover, these procedures can be easily reproduced with common household equipment to increase the recycling efforts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Household Articles , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Filtration , Humans , Masks
2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-321982

ABSTRACT

Background: The recent SARS-CoV-2 infection is the cause of one of the most important pandemics that history has ever experienced. SARS-CoV-2 can lead to a MOF (Multiple Organ Failure) that is critical for life of patients. Viral RNA is found in human tissues as lung, intestine, testicle, kidney, etc. and it is the reason to theorize different ways of transmission of the virus in addition to respiratory droplets. The aim of our study was to evaluate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in urethral swabs.Methods We enrolled 10 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection who attended the Infectious Diseases Unit of the A.O.U. Federico II of Naples, from March 2020 to April 2020. For each patient, one urethral swab was collected at the time of SARS-CoV-2 infection.Results All ten patients had a negative urethral swab for SARS-CoV-2 RNA when the rhino-oropharyngeal swab was found to be positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Our data show for the first time that the virus would not affect the urinary tract and therefore would not be found in the urine and even less would it be transmissible through the urine. This result was independent of the stage of the disease, in fact, regardless of the severity of the clinical conditions, all patients had a negative urethral swab for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.Conclusion This observation, which needs to be further investigated with further studies and a larger sample, could be the cornerstone for understanding the role of SARS-CoV-2 in relation to the genitourinary system.

3.
Gels ; 8(2)2022 Jan 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667104

ABSTRACT

Hand hygiene, social distancing, and face covering are considered the first protection against Coronavirus spreading. The high demand during the COVID-19 emergency has driven a frenetic production and marketing of hand sanitizer gels. Nevertheless, the effect of the gelling agent and its amount on the effectiveness of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (ABHSs) needs to be clarified. We presented a systematic study on the effect of the characteristics and concentration of the most employed excipients on the properties and antimicrobial activity of ABHSs. Three different gelling agents, carbopol, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC), and hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC), at four different concentrations were used to prepare ABHSs. Viscosity, spreadability, delivery from commercial dispensers, evaporation rate, rubbing time, and hand distribution of the ABHSs were then explored. Biocidal activity of selected ABHSs was evaluated in vitro on ATCC and clinical strains. The studied ABHS can be considered bioactive and comfortable. Nevertheless, the cellulose polymers and ethanol interactions led to a slight but significant reduction in the biocidal activity compared with carbopol-based formulations. Our results underline the importance of the gelling agent properties and support the choice of carbopol as one of the best thickener agents in ABHS formulations.

4.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1534035

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: to describe a single-center experience of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) in non-HIV patients recovering from COVID-19. METHODS: We report the cases of five non-HIV patients with COVID-19 who also developed PJP at a University Hospital. RESULTS: With the exception of one subject, who experienced an atypical and prolonged course of COVID-19, all the patients developed PJP after the clinical resolution of COVID-19 pneumonia. All but one patient had no pre-existing immunosuppressive conditions or other risk factors for PJP development at COVID-19 diagnosis. Nonetheless, following the course of COVID-19 infection, all the patients fulfilled at least one host factor for PJP; indeed, all the patients had received at least 2 weeks of high-dose steroids and three out of five had a CD4+ cell count <200/mm3. CONCLUSIONS: The use of corticosteroids for COVID-19 respiratory impairment seems to be the most common risk factor for PJP, together with viral-induced and iatrogenic lymphopenia. The worsening in respiratory function and the characteristic radiological picture during or after COVID-19 pneumonia should raise the suspicion of PJP, even in immunocompetent patients. PJP primary chemoprophylaxis can be considered in selected high-risk COVID-19 patients, but further studies are needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pneumocystis carinii , Pneumonia, Pneumocystis , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Immunocompromised Host , Pneumonia, Pneumocystis/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488580

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: to describe a single-center experience of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) in non-HIV patients recovering from COVID-19. METHODS: We report the cases of five non-HIV patients with COVID-19 who also developed PJP at a University Hospital. RESULTS: With the exception of one subject, who experienced an atypical and prolonged course of COVID-19, all the patients developed PJP after the clinical resolution of COVID-19 pneumonia. All but one patient had no pre-existing immunosuppressive conditions or other risk factors for PJP development at COVID-19 diagnosis. Nonetheless, following the course of COVID-19 infection, all the patients fulfilled at least one host factor for PJP; indeed, all the patients had received at least 2 weeks of high-dose steroids and three out of five had a CD4+ cell count <200/mm3. CONCLUSIONS: The use of corticosteroids for COVID-19 respiratory impairment seems to be the most common risk factor for PJP, together with viral-induced and iatrogenic lymphopenia. The worsening in respiratory function and the characteristic radiological picture during or after COVID-19 pneumonia should raise the suspicion of PJP, even in immunocompetent patients. PJP primary chemoprophylaxis can be considered in selected high-risk COVID-19 patients, but further studies are needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pneumocystis carinii , Pneumonia, Pneumocystis , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Immunocompromised Host , Pneumonia, Pneumocystis/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2
7.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 350, 2021 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1186555

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 infection has emerged as a rapidly spreading infection. Today it is relatively easy to isolate Covid-19 symptomatic cases, while remains problematic to control the disease spread by infected but symptom-free individuals. The control of this possible path of contagion requires drastic measures of social distancing, which imply the suspension of most activities and generate economic and social issues. This study is aimed at estimating the percentage of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in a geographic area with relatively low incidence of Covid-19. METHODS: Blood serum samples from 388 healthy volunteers were analyzed for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG by using an ELISA assay based on recombinant viral nucleocapsid protein. RESULTS: We found that 7 out of 388 healthy volunteers, who declared no symptoms of Covid-19, like fever, cough, fatigue etc., in the preceding 5 months, have bona fide serum anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG, that is 1.8% of the asymptomatic population (95% confidence interval: 0.69-2.91%). CONCLUSIONS: The estimated range of asymptomatic individuals with anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG should be between 26,565 and 112, 350. In the same geographic area, there are 4665 symptomatic diagnosed cases.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Incidence , Italy/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Young Adult
8.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(4)2021 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1063402

ABSTRACT

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a broader use of masks by both professionals and the general population. This resulted in a severe worldwide shortage of devices and the need to increase import and activate production of safe and effective surgical masks at the national level. In order to support the demand for testing surgical masks in the Italian context, Universities provided their contribution by setting up laboratories for testing mask performance before releasing products into the national market. This paper reports the effort of seven Italian university laboratories who set up facilities for testing face masks during the emergency period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Measurement set-ups were built, adapting the methods specified in the EN 14683:2019+AC. Data on differential pressure (DP) and bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) of 120 masks, including different materials and designs, were collected over three months. More than 60% of the masks satisfied requirements for DP and BFE set by the standard. Masks made of nonwoven polypropylene with at least three layers (spunbonded-meltblown-spunbonded) showed the best results, ensuring both good breathability and high filtration efficiency. The majority of the masks created with alternative materials and designs did not comply with both standard requirements, resulting in suitability only as community masks. The effective partnering between universities and industries to meet a public need in an emergency context represented a fruitful example of the so-called university "third-mission".


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Laboratories , Masks/standards , Pandemics , Humans , Italy
9.
Adv Virol ; 2020: 8826943, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-999332

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 infection has caused one of the worst pandemics that history has ever known. SARS-CoV-2 can lead to multiple organ failure, which is life-threatening. Viral RNA is found in the lung, intestine, testicle, kidney, etc., which suggests the virus can be transmitted also via routes besides respiratory droplets. The aim of our study was to evaluate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in urethral swabs. METHODS: We enrolled ten patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection who attended the Infectious Diseases Unit of the A.O.U. Federico II of Naples, from March 2020 to April 2020. One urethral swab and one rhino-oropharyngeal swab were collected from each patient during SARS-CoV-2 infection. RESULTS: All ten patients had a negative urethral swab for SARS-CoV-2 RNA, whereas the rhino-oropharyngeal swab was positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. This finding demonstrates that, in our patients, the virus did not affect the urinary tract and therefore would not be found in the urine, and even more importantly, it would not be transmitted via urine. This result was independent of the stage of the disease. CONCLUSION: If confirmed in larger studies, this observation could be the key to understanding the role of SARS-CoV-2 in relation to the genitourinary system.

10.
Giornale italiano di medicina del lavoro ed ergonomia ; 42(2):73-81, 2020.
Article | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-632582

ABSTRACT

SUMMARY: During COVID-19 pandemic crisis, Italian Government has approved Law Decree no. 18 of 17 march 2020, in which art. 15 allows enterprises to produce, import and commercialize surgical masks notwithstanding the current rules of product certification. It is just required that the interested enterprises send to the Italian National Institute of Health a selfcertification in which they declare the technical characteristics of the masks and that masks are produced according to the safety requirements. In this context, a technical-scientific unit was established at the University of Napoli Federico II to provide interested enterprises with state-of-the-art consultancy, testing and measurement services, adhering to rigorous scientific protocols. Characterization tests were carried out on 163 surgical masks and/or materials for their construction and they have enabled the identification of pre-screening criteria to simplify the procedure for evaluating surgical masks using methods for assessing the filtration efficiency of particles and aerosols. Based on experimental results, it has been observed that a filtration efficiency for particles with sizes larger that 650 nm (PFE>650) exceeding 35% might guarantees a bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) higher than 95% while BFE values higher than 98% are obtained when the PFE>650 is larger than 40%. PFE measurement is extremely simpler with respect to BFE, the latter being time-consuming and requiring specific equipment and methods for its realization. Many tested materials have shown the capability to assure high filtration efficiencies but Spundonded-Meltblown-Spunbonded (SMS), that are layers of non-woven fabric with different weights of Meltblown, can simultaneously guarantee high particle filtration efficiencies with pressure drop values (breathability) in the limits to classify the surgical masks as Type II/IIR. In fact, the fabric products analyzed so far have not been able to simultaneously guarantee adequate BFE and breathability values. On the contrary, Spunbonds of adequate weights can virtually verify both requirements and accredit themselves as possible materials for the production of surgical masks, at least of Type I. Further studies are needed to verify the possibility of producing low-cost, reusable surgical masks that could meet the criteria of circular economy. A seguito dellepidemia da COVID-19, in Italia lart. 15 del decreto-legge 17 marzo 2020 n. 18 ha permesso di produrre, importare e immettere in commercio mascherine chirurgiche in deroga alle vigenti disposizioni mediante linvio allIstituto Superiore di Sanita di una autocertificazione da parte dei soggetti interessati nella quale siano attestate le caratteristiche tecniche delle mascherine e sia dichiarato che le stesse rispettano tutti i requisiti di sicurezza. In questo ambito, e stato istituito presso lUniversita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, un presidio tecnico-scientifico per fornire alle aziende interessate servizi di consulenza, prova e misurazione, allo stato dellarte e aderenti a rigorosi protocolli scientifici. Nel corso di queste attivita, il presidio tecnico scientifico ha effettuato prove di caratterizzazione su 163 mascherine chirurgiche e/o materiali per la loro costruzione. Queste hanno permesso di individuare dei criteri di pre-screening per semplificare la procedura di valutazione delle mascherine chirurgiche utilizzando metodi di valutazione dellefficienza di filtrazione di polveri e di aerosol. In particolare, si e osservato che una efficienza di filtrazione polveri con diametro superiore a 650 nm (PFE>650) maggiore del 35% garantisce un livello di efficienza di filtrazione batterica (BFE) superiore al 95% mentre valori della BFE superiori al 98% sono ottenuti quando il valore della PFE>650 e superiore al 40%. La misura della PFE e una misura estremamente pio semplice rispetto alla prova di BFE che richiede tempo, specifiche attrezzature e metodi per la sua realizzazione. Alcuni materiali provati hanno mostrato la possibilita di garantire el vate efficienze di filtrazi ne ma solo gli Spundonded-Meltblown-Spunbonded (SMS) che sono stratificazioni di tessuto non tessuto a diverse grammature di Meltblown, riescono a garantire contemporaneamente alte efficienze di filtrazione polveri con i valori di perdite di carico (respirabilita) richiesti per classificare una mascherina chirurgica come Tipo II/IIR secondo la normativa vigente. Infatti, i prodotti in tessuto fino ad ora analizzati non sono stati in grado di garantire contemporaneamente adeguati valori di BFE e di respirabilita. Al contrario, assemblati di Spunbond di adeguata grammatura e spessore potrebbero virtualmente verificare entrambi i requisiti e accreditarsi come possibili materiali per la produzione di maschere chirurgiche di Tipo I. Ulteriori studi saranno necessari per verificare la possibilita di ottenere mascherine chirurgiche a basso costo e che possano essere riutilizzate nellottica di una maggiore sostenibilita ambientale e di una maggiore sicurezza degli approvvigionamenti.

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