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COVID-19: Study identifies mask decontamination methods for re-use

  • Published
  • 17 April 2020
  • Category
  • News
N95 respirators can be decontaminated and safely re-used up to three times, according to a study released by the National Institutes of Health. N95 masks are worn to reduce exposure to airborne particles and infectious agents, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Single use is recommended in health care settings.
Vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), 70-degree Celsius dry heat, ultraviolet light and 70 percent ethanol spray were tested three times each on masks in a laboratory setting. All four methods eliminated detectable viable virus from N95 fabric test samples.
VHP was found to be the most effective decontamination method because no virus could be detected and masks retained their integrity after just 10 minutes of treatment. UV and dry heat were acceptable decontamination procedures as long as these methods were applied for at least 60 minutes. However, investigators did not recommend ethanol spray because it damaged the integrity of the respirator’s fit and seal after two decontamination sessions.


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