With the scarcity of N95 face masks persisting nationwide, healthcare facilities are scrambling to find methods to clean and disinfect the masks for reuse to protect doctors and nurses most at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Duke University thinks it has discovered a solution utilizing vaporized hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate the masks.
The process makes use of specialized gear to vaporize hydrogen peroxide, which can then infuse all of the layers of the mask to kill germs without degrading masks material.
The university mentioned it has proven efficient and can start utilizing the technology at all three of its hospitals, in line with Matthew Stiegel, the director of the Occupational and Environmental Safety Office at Duke.
Ideally, the hospitals would be able to use fresh and clean masks and never need to try to decontaminate their masks; however, these should not include ideal events
Duke’s resolution to use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect N95 masks is based on revealed studies performed in 2016; however, the practice wasn’t widespread, because the industry wasn’t facing scarcity.
Those earlier studies didn’t include fit-testing — or the resizing of masks for individual wearers — after disinfecting. Duke has now carried out that efficacy testing in the real world, the university stated.
Monte Brown, MD, VP at Duke University Health System, stated the Duke staff is working to spread the word in regards to the technique, making the protocols widely available.