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J Hosp Infect ; 106(3): 536-553, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023641


BACKGROUND: In pandemics such as COVID-19, shortages of personal protective equipment are common. One solution may be to decontaminate equipment such as facemasks for reuse. AIM: To collect and synthesize existing information on decontamination of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) using microwave and heat-based treatments, with special attention to impacts on mask function (aerosol penetration, airflow resistance), fit, and physical traits. METHODS: A systematic review (PROSPERO CRD42020177036) of literature available from Medline, Embase, Global Health, and other sources was conducted. Records were screened independently by two reviewers, and data was extracted from studies that reported on effects of microwave- or heat-based decontamination on N95 FFR performance, fit, physical traits, and/or reductions in microbial load. FINDINGS: Thirteen studies were included that used dry/moist microwave irradiation, heat, or autoclaving. All treatment types reduced pathogen load by a log10 reduction factor of at least three when applied for sufficient duration (>30 s microwave, >60 min dry heat), with most studies assessing viral pathogens. Mask function (aerosol penetration <5% and airflow resistance <25 mmH2O) was preserved after all treatments except autoclaving. Fit was maintained for most N95 models, though all treatment types caused observable physical damage to at least one model. CONCLUSIONS: Microwave irradiation and heat may be safe and effective viral decontamination options for N95 FFR reuse during critical shortages. The evidence does not support autoclaving or high-heat (>90°C) approaches. Physical degradation may be an issue for certain mask models, and more real-world evidence on fit is needed.

Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Decontamination/standards , Equipment Reuse/standards , Guidelines as Topic , Hot Temperature , Respiratory Protective Devices/virology , Ultraviolet Rays , Humans
J Hosp Infect ; 106(1): 163-175, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-716812


Inadequate supply of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) for healthcare workers during a pandemic such as the novel coronavirus outbreak (SARS-CoV-2) is a serious public health issue. The aim of this study was to synthesize existing data on the effectiveness of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) for N95 FFR decontamination. A systematic review (PROSPERO CRD42020176156) was conducted on UVGI in N95 FFRs using Embase, Medline, Global Health, Google Scholar, WHO feed, and MedRxiv. Two reviewers independently determined eligibility and extracted predefined variables. Original research reporting on function, decontamination, or mask fit following UVGI were included. Thirteen studies were identified, comprising 54 UVGI intervention arms and 58 N95 models. FFRs consistently maintained certification standards following UVGI. Aerosol penetration averaged 1.19% (0.70-2.48%) and 1.14% (0.57-2.63%) for control and UVGI arms, respectively. Airflow resistance for the control arms averaged 9.79 mm H2O (7.97-11.70 mm H2O) vs 9.85 mm H2O (8.33-11.44 mm H2O) for UVGI arms. UVGI protocols employing a cumulative dose >20,000 J/m2 resulted in a 2-log reduction in viral load. A >3-log reduction was observed in seven UVGI arms using >40,000 J/m2. Impact of UVGI on fit was evaluated in two studies (16,200; 32,400 J/m2) and no evidence of compromise was found. Our findings suggest that further work in this area (or translation to a clinical setting) should use a cumulative UV-C dose of 40,000 J/m2 or greater, and confirm appropriate mask fit following decontamination.

Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Disinfection/standards , Equipment Reuse/standards , Guidelines as Topic , Masks/standards , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Ultraviolet Rays , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Efficiency , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Safety/standards