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Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19403, 2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1447324


The ongoing worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has set personal protective equipment in the spotlight. A significant number of countries impose the use of facemasks in public spaces and encourage it in the private sphere. Even in countries where relatively high vaccination rates are achieved at present, breakthrough infections have been frequently reported and usage of facemasks in certain settings has been recommended again. Alternative solutions, including community masks fabricated using various materials, such as cotton or jersey, have emerged alongside facemasks following long-established standards (e.g., EN 149, EN 14683). In the present work, we present a computational model to calculate the ability of different types of facemasks to reduce the exposure to virus-laden respiratory particles, with a focus on the relative importance of the filtration properties and the fitting on the wearer's face. The model considers the facemask and the associated leakage, the transport of respiratory particles and their accumulation around the emitter, as well as the fraction of the inhaled particles deposited in the respiratory system. Different levels of leakages are considered to represent the diversity of fittings likely to be found among a population of non-trained users. The leakage prevails over the filtration performance of a facemask in determining the exposure level, and the ability of a face protection to limit leakages needs to be taken into account to accurately estimate the provided protection. Filtering facepieces (FFP) provide a better protection efficiency than surgical and community masks due to their higher filtration efficiency and their ability to provide a better fit and thus reduce the leakages. However, an improperly-fitted FFP mask loses a critical fraction of its protection efficiency, which may drop below the protection level provided by properly-worn surgical and community masks.

COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Filtration/instrumentation , Masks/standards , SARS-CoV-2 , Aerosols , Air Microbiology , COVID-19/virology , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Filtration/standards , Humans , Inhalation Exposure/prevention & control , Models, Theoretical , Particle Size
Chem Res Toxicol ; 34(1): 110-118, 2021 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-983873


The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has drastically increased pressure on medical resources and highlighted the need for rapidly available, large-scale, and low-cost personal protective equipment (PPE). In this work, an alternative full-face mask is adapted from a modified snorkel mask to be used as PPE with two medical-grade filters and a 3D-printed adapter. Since the mask covers the eyes, mouth, and nose, it acts as a full-face shield, providing additional protection to healthcare workers. The SARS-CoV-2 has a size between 60 nm and 140 nm, and airborne viral particles can be carried by larger droplets with sizes up to several millimeters. The minimum filtration efficiency of mechanical and electrostatic filters is usually reached between 30 nm and 300 nm. The filtration efficiency of different medical filters is measured for particles below 300 nm to cover the size of the SARS-CoV-2 and small virus-laden droplets, and determine the minimum efficiency. The filtration performance of the adapted full-face mask is characterized using NaCl particles below 500 nm and different fitting scenarios to determine the minimum protection efficiency. The mask is compared to a commercial respirator and characterized according to the EN 149 standard, demonstrating that the protection fulfills the requirements for the FFP2 level (filtering face-piece 2, stopping at least 94% of airborne particles). The device shows a good resistance to several cycles of decontamination (autoclaving and ethanol immersion), is easy to be produced locally at low cost, and helps to address the shortage in FFP2 masks and face shields by providing adequate protection to healthcare workers against particles <500 nm in size.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Equipment Reuse , Health Personnel , Masks , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , COVID-19/epidemiology , Equipment Design , Humans , Particle Size , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surface Properties
ACS Nano ; 14(5): 5268-5277, 2020 May 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-46728


The ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread globally and poses a threat to public health in more than 200 countries. Reliable laboratory diagnosis of the disease has been one of the foremost priorities for promoting public health interventions. The routinely used reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is currently the reference method for COVID-19 diagnosis. However, it also reported a number of false-positive or -negative cases, especially in the early stages of the novel virus outbreak. In this work, a dual-functional plasmonic biosensor combining the plasmonic photothermal (PPT) effect and localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) sensing transduction provides an alternative and promising solution for the clinical COVID-19 diagnosis. The two-dimensional gold nanoislands (AuNIs) functionalized with complementary DNA receptors can perform a sensitive detection of the selected sequences from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) through nucleic acid hybridization. For better sensing performance, the thermoplasmonic heat is generated on the same AuNIs chip when illuminated at their plasmonic resonance frequency. The localized PPT heat is capable to elevate the in situ hybridization temperature and facilitate the accurate discrimination of two similar gene sequences. Our dual-functional LSPR biosensor exhibits a high sensitivity toward the selected SARS-CoV-2 sequences with a lower detection limit down to the concentration of 0.22 pM and allows precise detection of the specific target in a multigene mixture. This study gains insight into the thermoplasmonic enhancement and its applicability in the nucleic acid tests and viral disease diagnosis.

Betacoronavirus/chemistry , Biosensing Techniques/methods , Surface Plasmon Resonance/methods , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Biosensing Techniques/instrumentation , Biosensing Techniques/standards , DNA, Complementary/chemistry , DNA, Complementary/genetics , Gold/chemistry , Hot Temperature , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Nucleic Acid Hybridization/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Surface Plasmon Resonance/instrumentation , Surface Plasmon Resonance/standards