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2.
Appl Environ Microbiol ; 88(19): e0122122, 2022 Oct 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2038232

ABSTRACT

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of UV technology for virus disinfection to allow FFR reuse. UV is a proven decontamination tool for microbial pathogens, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Research findings suggest that the impacts of UV-C treatment on FFR material degradation should be confirmed using microbial surrogates in addition to the commonly performed abiotic particle testing. This study used the surrogates, E. coli and MS-2 bacteriophage, as they bracket the UV response of SARS-CoV-2. Lower log inactivation was observed on FFRs than predicted by aqueous-based UV dose-response data for MS-2 bacteriophage and E. coli. In addition, the dose-response curves did not follow the trends commonly observed with aqueous data for E. coli and MS-2. The dose-response curves for the respirators in this study had a semicircle shape, where the inactivation reached a peak and then decreased. This decrease in UV inactivation is thought to be due to the degradation of the fibers of the FFR and allows for more viral and bacterial cells to wash through the layers of the respirator. This degradation phenomenon was observed at UV doses at and above 2,000 mJ/cm2. Results have demonstrated that FFR materials yield various results in terms of effective disinfection in experiments conducted on KN95 and N95 face respirators. The highest inactivation for both surrogates was observed with the KN95 respirator made by Purism, yielding 3 and 2.75 log inactivation for E. coli and MS-2 at UV doses of 1,500 mJ/cm2. The KN95 made by Anboruo yielded the lowest inactivation for MS-2 at 0.75 log when exposed to 1,000 mJ/cm2. To further test the degradation theory, experiments used a collimated beam device to test the hypothesis further that degradation is occurring at and above UV doses of 1,500 mJ/cm2. The experiment aimed to determine the effect of "predosing" a respirator with UV before inoculating the respirator with MS-2. In this test, quantification of the penetrated irradiance value and the ability of each layer to retain MS-2 were quantified. The results of the experiments varied from the intact FFR degradation experiments but displayed some data to support the degradation theory. IMPORTANCE Research suggests degradation of FFR materials at high UV doses is important. There appears to be a peak inactivation dose at approximately 1,500 mJ/cm2. The subsequent dose increases appear to have the reverse effect on inactivation values; these trends have shown true with both the N95 and KN95-Purism respirators.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disinfection , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Disinfection/methods , Escherichia coli , Humans , N95 Respirators , SARS-CoV-2 , Ultraviolet Rays , Ventilators, Mechanical
3.
J Occup Environ Hyg ; 19(10-11): 663-675, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2028921

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world and caused a supply shortage of personal protection equipment, especially filtering facepiece respirators (FFP). This has increased the risk of many healthcare workers contracting SARS-CoV-2. Various strategies have been assessed to tackle these supply issues. In critical shortage scenarios, reusing single-use-designed respirators may be required. Thus, an easily applicable and reliable FFP2 (or alike) respirator decontamination method, allowing safe re-use of FFP2 respirators by healthcare personnel, has been developed and is presented in this study. A potent and gentle aerosolized hydrogen peroxide (12% wt) method was applied over 4 hr to decontaminate various brands of FFP2 respirators within a small common room, followed by adequate aeration and storage overnight. The microbial efficacy was tested on unused respirator pieces using spores of Geobacillus stearothermophilus. Further, decontamination effectiveness was tested on used respirators after one 12-hr shift by swabbing before and after the decontamination. The effects of up to ten decontamination cycles on the respirators' functionality were evaluated using material properties, the structural integrity of the respirators, and fit tests with subjects. The suggested H2O2 decontamination procedure was proven to be (a) sufficiently potent (no microbial recovery, total inactivation of biological indicators as well as spore inoculum on critical respirator surfaces), (b) gentle as no significant damage to the respirator structural integrity and acceptable fit factors were observed, and (c) safe as no H2O2 residue were detected after the defined aeration and storage. Thus, this easy-to-implement and scalable method could overcome another severe respirator shortage, providing enough flexibility to draft safe, effective, and logistically simple crisis plans. However, as highlighted in this study, due to the wealth of design and material used in different models and brands of respirators, the decontamination process should be validated for each FFP respirator model before its field implementation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse , Ventilators, Mechanical
4.
mSphere ; 7(5): e0030322, 2022 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2019746

ABSTRACT

In response to the demand for N95 respirators by health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, we evaluated decontamination of N95 respirators using an aerosolized hydrogen peroxide (aHP) system. This system is designed to dispense a consistent atomized spray of aerosolized, 7% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solution over a treatment cycle. Multiple N95 respirator models were subjected to 10 or more cycles of respirator decontamination, with a select number periodically assessed for qualitative and quantitative fit testing. In parallel, we assessed the ability of aHP treatment to inactivate multiple viruses absorbed onto respirators, including phi6 bacteriophage, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3), and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). For pathogens transmitted via respiratory droplets and aerosols, it is critical to address respirator safety for reuse. This study provided experimental validation of an aHP treatment process that decontaminates the respirators while maintaining N95 function. External National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) certification verified respirator structural integrity and filtration efficiency after 10 rounds of aHP treatment. Virus inactivation by aHP was comparable to the decontamination of commercial spore-based biological indicators. These data demonstrate that the aHP process is effective, with successful fit-testing of respirators after multiple aHP cycles, effective decontamination of multiple virus species, including SARS-CoV-2, successful decontamination of bacterial spores, and filtration efficiency maintained at or greater than 95%. While this study did not include extended or clinical use of N95 respirators between aHP cycles, these data provide proof of concept for aHP decontamination of N95 respirators before reuse in a crisis-capacity scenario. IMPORTANCE The COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented pressure on health care and research facilities to provide personal protective equipment. The respiratory nature of the SARS-CoV2 pathogen makes respirator facepieces a critical protective measure to limit inhalation of this virus. While respirator facepieces were designed for single use and disposal, the pandemic increased overall demand for N95 respirators, and corresponding manufacturing and supply chain limitations necessitated the safe reuse of respirators when necessary. In this study, we repurposed an aerosolized hydrogen peroxide (aHP) system that is regularly utilized to decontaminate materials in a biosafety level 3 (BSL3) facility, to develop a method for decontamination of N95 respirators. Results from viral inactivation, biological indicators, respirator fit testing, and filtration efficiency testing all indicated that the process was effective at rendering N95 respirators safe for reuse. This proof-of-concept study establishes baseline data for future testing of aHP in crisis-capacity respirator-reuse scenarios.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , N95 Respirators , Humans , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Hydrogen Peroxide/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Inactivation , Decontamination/methods , Feasibility Studies , RNA, Viral , Equipment Reuse
5.
Lett Appl Microbiol ; 75(6): 1639-1644, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2019532

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to evaluate the performance of accelerated hydrogen peroxide® wipes (HPW) for decontamination of the chimpanzee adenovirus AZD1222 vaccine strain used in the production of recombinant COVID-19 vaccine in a pharmaceutical industry. Two matrices were tested on stainless-steel (SS) and low-density-polyethylene (LDP) surfaces: formulated recombinant COVID-19 vaccine (FCV) and active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). The samples were spiked, dried and the initial inoculum, possible residue effect (RE) and titre reduction after disinfection with HPW were determined. No RE was observed. The disinfection procedure with HPW resulted in complete decontamination the of AZD1222 adenovirus strain in FCV (≥7·46 and ≥7·49 log10 infectious unit [IFU] ml-1 for SS and LDP carriers respectively) and API (≥8·79 and ≥8·78 log10 IFU ml-1 for SS and LDP carriers respectively). In conclusion, virucidal activity of HPW was satisfactory against the AZD1222 adenovirus strain and can be a good option for disinfection processes of SS and LPD surfaces in pharmaceutical industry facilities during recombinant COVID-19 vaccine production. This procedure is simple and can be also applied on safety unit cabins and sampling bags made of LDP as well.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disinfectants , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide/pharmacology , Disinfectants/pharmacology , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Adenoviridae/genetics , Decontamination/methods , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disinfection/methods , Stainless Steel , Drug Industry
6.
Am J Infect Control ; 50(8): 857-862, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2000224

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), as consequence of the COVID-19 global pandemic, has unmasked significant resource inequities prompting efforts to develop methods for safe PPE decontamination for reuse. The World Health Organization (WHO) in their Rational Use of PPE bulletin cited the use of a photodynamic dye, methylene blue, and light exposure as a viable option for N95 respirator decontamination. Because WHO noted that methylene blue (MB) would be applied to surfaces through which health care workers breathe, we hypothesized that little to no MB will be detectable by spectroscopy when the PPE is subjected to MB at supraphysiologic airflow rates. METHODS: A panel of N95 respirators, medical masks, and cloth masks were sprayed with 5 cycles of 1,000 uM MB solution. Mask coupons were subjected to the equivalent of 120 L/min of 100% humidified air flow. Effluent gas was trapped in an aqueous solution and the resultant fluid was sampled for MB absorbance with a level of detection of 0.004 mg/m3. RESULTS: No detectable MB was identified for any mask using Ultraviolet-Visible spectroscopy. CONCLUSIONS: At 500-fold the amount of MB applied to N95 respirators and medical masks as were used for the decontamination study cited in the WHO Rational Use of PPE bulletin, no detectable MB was observed, thus providing safety evidence for the use of methylene blue and light exposure for mask decontamination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse , Humans , Methylene Blue , N95 Respirators
7.
Am J Infect Control ; 50(8): 863-870, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2000222

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a worldwide shortage of N95 respirators, prompting the development of decontamination methods to enable limited reuse. Countries lacking reliable supply chains would also benefit from the ability to safely reuse PPE. Methylene blue (MB) is a light-activated dye with demonstrated antimicrobial activity used to sterilize blood plasma. Decontamination of respirators using photoactivated MB requires no specialized equipment, making it attractive for use in the field during outbreaks. METHODS: We examined decontamination of N95 and KN95 respirators using photoactivated MB and 3 variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; and 4 World Health Organization priority pathogens: Ebola virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, and Lassa virus. Virus inactivation by pretreating respirator material was also tested. RESULTS: Photoactivated MB inactivated all tested viruses on respirator material, albeit with varying efficiency. Virus applied to respirator material pre-treated with MB was also inactivated, thus MB pretreatment may potentially protect respirator wearers from virus exposure in real-time. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that photoactivated MB represents a cost-effective, rapid, and widely deployable method to decontaminate N95 respirators for reuse during supply shortages.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Nipah Virus , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/prevention & control , Humans , Methylene Blue/pharmacology , N95 Respirators , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Ventilators, Mechanical
8.
Am J Infect Control ; 50(8): 871-877, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2000219

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, reuse of personal protective equipment, specifically that of medical face coverings, has been recommended. The reuse of these typically single-use only items necessitates procedures to inactivate contaminating human respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens. We previously demonstrated decontamination of surgical masks and respirators contaminated with infectious SARS-CoV-2 and various animal coronaviruses via low concentration- and short exposure methylene blue photochemical treatment (10 µM methylene blue, 30 minutes of 12,500-lux red light or 50,000 lux white light exposure). METHODS: Here, we describe the adaptation of this protocol to the decontamination of a more resistant, non-enveloped gastrointestinal virus and demonstrate efficient photodynamic inactivation of murine norovirus, a human norovirus surrogate. RESULTS: Methylene blue photochemical treatment (100 µM methylene blue, 30 minutes of 12,500-lux red light exposure) of murine norovirus-contaminated masks reduced infectious viral titers by over four orders of magnitude on surgical mask surfaces. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Inactivation of a norovirus, the most difficult to inactivate of the respiratory and gastrointestinal human viruses, can predict the inactivation of any less resistant viral mask contaminant. The protocol developed here thus solidifies the position of methylene blue photochemical decontamination as an important tool in the package of practical pandemic preparedness.


Subject(s)
Decontamination , Masks , Methylene Blue , Norovirus , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse , Humans , Masks/virology , Methylene Blue/toxicity , Mice , SARS-CoV-2
9.
J Biophotonics ; 15(10): e202200068, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1971275

ABSTRACT

The spread of SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in the shortage of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). As a result, the use of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation for disinfection and reuse of FFRs has been the topic of much investigation. In this article, a mathematical model is developed based on Kubelka's theory to determine light transmission in multilayer materials, such as N95 masks. Using this model, the predicted UV transmittance and absorbance of a N95 mask layers were found to be in close agreement with the experimental values. In addition, when the mask was exposed to UV equally from both surfaces, the estimated minimum UV irradiance inside the N95 mask was 14.5% of the incident irradiance, suggesting a significant degree of light penetration. The proposed model provides a simple and practical methodology for the design and use of UV decontamination equipment for FFRs and other multilayer materials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse , Humans , Ultraviolet Rays , Ventilators, Mechanical
10.
Photochem Photobiol Sci ; 21(11): 1915-1929, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1943884

ABSTRACT

As part of efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and decrease the high transmissibility of the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, effective inactivation strategies, such as UV-C decontamination technologies, can be reliably disseminated and well-studied. The present study investigated the susceptibility of a high viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) N95, surgical mask, cotton fabric mask and N95 straps under three different doses of UV-C, applying both real-time PCR (qPCR) and plaque formation assays to quantify viral load reduction and virus infectivity, respectively. The results show that more than 95% of the amount of SARS-CoV-2 RNA could be reduced after 10 min of UV-C exposure (0.93 J cm-2 per side) in FFR N95 and surgical masks and, after 5 min of UV-C treatment (0.46 J cm-2 per side) in fabric masks. Furthermore, the analysis of viable coronaviruses after these different UV-C treatments demonstrated that the lowest applied dose is sufficient to decontaminate all masks ([Formula: see text] 3-log10 reduction of the infective viral load, > 99.9% reduction). However, for the elastic strap of N95 respirators, a UV-C dose three times greater than that used in masks (1.4 J cm-2 per side) is required. The findings suggest that the complete decontamination of masks can be performed effectively and safely in well-planned protocols for pandemic crises or as strategies to reduce the high consumption and safe disposal of these materials in the environment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Pandemics , Masks , N95 Respirators , COVID-19/prevention & control , RNA, Viral , Decontamination/methods
11.
Food Environ Virol ; 14(3): 304-313, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1935880

ABSTRACT

The experience of COVID19 pandemic has demonstrated the real concern of biological agents dispersed in the air and surfaces environments. Therefore, the need of a fast and large-scale disinfection method has arisen for prevention of contagion. COUNTERFOG® is an innovative technology developed for large-scale decontamination of air and surfaces. The objective of this study is to assess experimentally the effectiveness of COUNTERFOG® in disinfecting viral-contaminated surfaces. We also aim to measure the necessary time to disinfect said surfaces. Stainless steel surfaces were contaminated with bacteriophage φ29 and disinfected using COUNTERFOG® SDR-F05A+, which uses a sodium hypochlorite solution at different concentrations and for different exposure times. A log reduction over 6 logs of virus titer is obtained in 1 min with 1.2% sodium hypochlorite when the application is direct; while at a radial distance of 5 cm from the point of application the disinfection reaches a reduction of 5.5 logs in 8 min. In the same way, a higher dilution of the sodium hypochlorite concentration (0.7% NaOCl) requires more exposure time (16 min) to obtain the same log reduction (> 6 logs). COUNTERFOG® creates, in a short time and at a distance of 2 m from the point of application, a thin layer of disinfectant that covers the surfaces. The selection of the concentration and exposure time is critical for the efficacy of disinfection. These tests demonstrate that a concentration between 0.7- 1.2% sodium hypochlorite is enough for a fast and efficient ɸ29 phage inactivation. The fact that ɸ29 phage is more resistant to disinfection than SARS-CoV-2 sustains this disinfection procedure.


Subject(s)
Bacteriophages , COVID-19 , Disinfectants , Decontamination/methods , Disinfectants/pharmacology , Disinfection/methods , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Sodium Hypochlorite/pharmacology
12.
J Med Virol ; 94(10): 4654-4668, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1905896

ABSTRACT

Given the high transmissibility of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) as witnessed early in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, concerns arose with the existing methods for virus disinfection and decontamination. The need for SARS-CoV-2-specific data stimulated considerable research in this regard. Overall, SARS-CoV-2 is practically and equally susceptible to approaches for disinfection and decontamination that have been previously found for other human or animal coronaviruses. The latter have included techniques utilizing temperature modulation, pH extremes, irradiation, and chemical treatments. These physicochemical methods are a necessary adjunct to other prevention strategies, given the environmental and patient surface ubiquity of the virus. Classic studies of disinfection have also allowed for extrapolation to the eradication of the virus on human mucosal surfaces by some chemical means. Despite considerable laboratory study, practical field assessments are generally lacking and need to be encouraged to confirm the correlation of interventions with viral eradication and infection prevention. Transparency in the constitution and use of any method or chemical is also essential to furthering practical applications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Disinfection/methods , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control
13.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int ; 29(53): 80411-80421, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1899264

ABSTRACT

As the world battles with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, it also prepares for future global pandemics that threaten our health, economy, and survivor. During the outbreak, it became evident that use of personal protective equipment (PPE), specially face masks, can significantly slow the otherwise uncontrolled spread of the virus. Nevertheless, the outbreak and its new variants have caused shortage of PPE in many regions of the world. In addition, waste management of the enormous economical and environmental footprint of single use PPE has proven to be a challenge. Therefore, this study advances the theme of decontaminating used masks. More specifically, the effect of various decontamination techniques on the integrity and functionality of nanofiber-based N95 masks (i.e. capable of at least filtering 95% of 0.3 µm aerosols) were examined. These techniques include 70% ethanol, bleaching, boiling, steaming, ironing as well as placement in autoclave, oven, and exposure to microwave (MW) and ultraviolet (UV) light. Herein, filtration efficiency (by Particle Filtration Efficiency equipment), general morphology, and microstructure of nanofibers (by Field Emission Scanning Electron microscopy) prior and after every decontamination technique were observed. The results suggest that decontamination of masks with 70% ethanol can lead to significant unfavorable changes in the microstructure and filtration efficiency (down to 57.33%) of the masks. In other techniques such as bleaching, boiling, steaming, ironing and placement in the oven, filtration efficiency dropped to only about 80% and in addition, some morphological changes in the nanofiber microstructure were seen. Expectedly, there was no significant reduction in filtration efficiency nor microstructural changes in the case of placement in autoclave and exposure to the UV light. It was concluded that, the latter methods are preferable to decontaminate nanofiber-based N95 masks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nanofibers , Humans , N95 Respirators , Decontamination/methods , Respiratory Aerosols and Droplets , Steam , Ethanol
14.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(12)2022 06 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1896844

ABSTRACT

Filtering facepiece respirators have been widely used in the fields of occupational health and public hygiene, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, disposable respirators have been in high demand, and the waste generated from these disposable products poses a problem for the environment. Here, we aimed to test a practical decontamination method to allow for the reuse of KN95 respirators. In this study, three types of KN95 respirators were heated at 80 °C and 90 °C for different durations (15 min, 30 min, 45 min, 1 h, 2 h, 3 h, 4 h, 6 h, 8 h, 10 h, and 24 h). The filtration efficiencies of the tested KN95 respirators before and after heating were measured, and the changes in microstructure were imaged with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). In addition, a neural network model based on the nonlinear autoregressive with external input (NARX) to predict the filtration efficiency of the KN95 respirator was established. The results show that the temperature and time of dry heating affected particle prevention. The higher the temperature and the longer the heating time, the more obvious the decline in the filtration efficiency of the respirators. When the heating temperature reached 100 °C, the respirator may be no longer suitable for reuse. These results show that a dry heat temperature between 70 °C and 90 °C, and a heating time between 30 min and 2 h is assumed to be a suitable and effective decontamination method for respirators.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Respiratory Protective Devices , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Filtration , Hot Temperature , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Ventilators, Mechanical
15.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(11)2022 05 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1892857

ABSTRACT

The need to secure public health and mitigate the environmental impact associated with the massified use of respiratory protective devices (RPD) has been raising awareness for the safe reuse of decontaminated masks by individuals and organizations. Among the decontamination treatments proposed, in this work, three methods with the potential to be adopted by households and organizations of different sizes were analysed: contact with nebulized hydrogen peroxide (H2O2); immersion in commercial bleach (NaClO) (sodium hypochlorite, 0.1% p/v); and contact with steam in microwave steam-sanitizing bags (steam bag). Their decontamination effectiveness was assessed using reference microorganisms following international standards (issued by ISO and FDA). Furthermore, the impact on filtration efficiency, air permeability and several physicochemical and structural characteristics of the masks, were evaluated for untreated masks and after 1, 5 and 10 cycles of treatment. Three types of RPD were analysed: surgical, KN95, and cloth masks. Results demonstrated that the H2O2 protocol sterilized KN95 and surgical masks (reduction of >6 log10 CFUs) and disinfected cloth masks (reduction of >3 log10 CFUs). The NaClO protocol sterilized surgical masks, and disinfected KN95 and cloth masks. Steam bags sterilized KN95 and disinfected surgical and cloth masks. No relevant impact was observed on filtration efficiency.


Subject(s)
Decontamination , Respiratory Protective Devices , Decontamination/methods , Filtration , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide , Permeability , Steam
16.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 43(6): 764-769, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1890039

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess the potential for contamination of personnel, patients, and the environment during use of contaminated N95 respirators and to compare the effectiveness of interventions to reduce contamination. DESIGN: Simulation study of patient care interactions using N95 respirators contaminated with a higher and lower inocula of the benign virus bacteriophage MS2. METHODS: In total, 12 healthcare personnel performed 3 standardized examinations of mannequins including (1) control with suboptimal respirator handling technique, (2) improved technique with glove change after each N95 contact, and (3) control with 1-minute ultraviolet-C light (UV-C) treatment prior to donning. The order of the examinations was randomized within each subject. The frequencies of contamination were compared among groups. Observations and simulations with fluorescent lotion were used to assess routes of transfer leading to contamination. RESULTS: With suboptimal respirator handling technique, bacteriophage MS2 was frequently transferred to the participants, mannequin, and environmental surfaces and fomites. Improved technique resulted in significantly reduced transfer of MS2 in the higher inoculum simulations (P < .01), whereas UV-C treatment reduced transfer in both the higher- and lower-inoculum simulations (P < .01). Observations and simulations with fluorescent lotion demonstrated multiple potential routes of transfer to participants, mannequin, and surfaces, including both direct contact with the contaminated respirator and indirect contact via contaminated gloves. CONCLUSION: Reuse of contaminated N95 respirators can result in contamination of personnel and the environment even when correct technique is used. Decontamination technologies, such as UV-C, could reduce the risk for transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , N95 Respirators , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse , Fomites , Humans , Levivirus , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Molecules ; 27(12)2022 Jun 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1884289

ABSTRACT

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, textile laundering hygiene has proved to be a fundamental measure in preventing the spread of infections. The first part of our study evaluated the decontamination efficiency of various treatments (thermal, photothermal, and microwave) for bio contaminated textiles. The effects on textile decontamination of adding saturated steam into the drum of a household textile laundering machine were investigated and evaluated in the second part of our study. The results show that the thermal treatment, conducted in a convection heating chamber, provided a slight reduction in efficiency and did not ensure the complete inactivation of Staphylococcus aureus on cotton swatches. The photothermal treatment showed higher reduction efficiency on contaminated textile samples, while the microwave treatment (at 460 W for a period of 60 s) of bio contaminated cotton swatches containing higher moisture content provided satisfactory bacterial reduction efficiency (more than 7 log steps). Additionally, the treatment of textiles in the household washing machine with the injection of saturated steam into the washing drum and a mild agitation rhythm provided at least a 7 log step reduction in S. aureus. The photothermal treatment of bio contaminated cotton textiles showed promising reduction efficiency, while the microwave treatment and the treatment with saturated steam proved to be the most effective.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Steam , Decontamination/methods , Humans , Microwaves , Pandemics , Staphylococcus aureus , Textiles
18.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 4191, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799570

ABSTRACT

Filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) provide effective protection against diseases spread through airborne infectious droplets and particles. The widespread use of FFRs during the COVID-19 pandemic has not only led to supply shortages, but the disposal of single-use facemasks also threatens the environment with a new kind of plastic pollution. While limited reuse of filtering facepiece respirators has been permitted as a crisis capacity strategy, there are currently no standard test methods available for decontamination before their repeated use. The decontamination of respirators can compromise the structural and functional integrity by reducing the filtration efficiency and breathability. Digital segmentation of X-ray microcomputed tomography (microCT) scans of the meltblown nonwoven layers of a specific N95 respirator model (Venus-4400) after treatment with one and five cycles of liquid hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet radiation, moist heat, and aqueous soap solution enabled us to perform filtration simulations of decontaminated respirators. The computed filtration efficiencies for 0.3 µm particles agreed well with experimental measurements, and the distribution of particle penetration depths was correlated with the structural changes resulting from decontamination. The combination of X-ray microCT imaging with numerical simulations thus provides a strategy for quantitative evaluation of the effectiveness of decontamination treatments for a specific respirator model.


Subject(s)
Decontamination/methods , Masks , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Detergents/chemistry , Equipment Reuse , Filtration , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide/pharmacology , Masks/virology , Models, Theoretical , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Ultraviolet Rays , X-Ray Microtomography
19.
Euro Surveill ; 27(11)2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753316

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe shortage of FFP2 and FFP3 respirators posed a serious threat to the operation of the healthcare system at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.AimOur aim was to develop and validate a large-scale facility that uses hydrogen peroxide vapour for the decontamination of used respirators.MethodsA multidisciplinary and multisectoral ad hoc group of experts representing various organisations was assembled to implement the collection and transport of used FFP2 and FFP3 respirators from hospitals covering 86% of the Finnish population. A large-scale decontamination facility using hydrogen peroxide vapour was designed and constructed. Microbiological tests were used to confirm efficacy of hydrogen peroxide vapour decontamination together with a test to assess the effect of decontamination on the filtering efficacy and fit of respirators. Bacterial and fungal growth in stored respirators was determined by standard methods.ResultsLarge-scale hydrogen peroxide vapour decontamination of a range of FFP2 and FFP3 respirator models effectively reduced the recovery of biological indicators: Geobacillus stearothermophilus and Bacillus atrophaeus spores, as well as model virus bacteriophage MS2. The filtering efficacy and facial fit after hydrogen peroxide vapour decontamination were not affected by the process. Microbial growth in the hydrogen peroxide vapour-treated respirators indicated appropriate microbial cleanliness.ConclusionsLarge-scale hydrogen peroxide vapour decontamination was validated. After effective decontamination, no significant changes in the key properties of the respirators were detected. European Union regulations should incorporate a facilitated pathway to allow reuse of appropriately decontaminated respirators in a severe pandemic when unused respirators are not available.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hydrogen Peroxide , Decontamination/methods , Finland , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide/pharmacology , Pandemics , Ventilators, Mechanical
20.
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
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