Reusing N95 masks in coronavirus pandemic possible with this technology – Fox Business

Posted: March 28, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Duke Health has formulated a technology that decontaminates medical masks for re-purposing. FOX Business' Ashley Webster with more.

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Researchers from Duke Health are spreading the word about a new way to decontaminate N-95 masks, key personal protective equipment that's been in short supply as the number of coronavirus cases confirmed in the U.S. grows.

They say that N-95 masks can be safely reused after being decontaminated with hydrogen peroxide vapor, a process that pharmaceutical companies and researchers have used onother kinds of equipment.

"We do not want our health care employees getting sick," Dr. Wayne Thomann of Duke University School of Medicine told FOX Business. "This is intendedto conserve a critical resource, which is our people who support the enitre health care process."

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The Duke researchers hope pharmaceutical companies can help hospitals put the decontamination technology into practice. The process takes about four to five hours and involves hanging the masks in a room to be sprayed with the aerosol.

N95 respiration masks at a laboratory of 3M in Maplewood, Minn,m that has been contracted by the U.S. government to produce extra marks in response to the coronavirus outbreak. (REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi)

The Duke team has been answering many hospitals' questions about the process, Thomann said.

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"Were working on this as a technology that allows us to fill the gap until the number of cases go down or productioncapability goes up," said Thomann, who specializes in both family medicine and occupation and environmental medicine.

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Doctors and nurses throughout the U.S.are sharing about stretching their supplies by reusing masksas they take precautions against catching or spreading the virus. Other methods of decontaminatingequipment that are being tested includeultraviolet light and dry heat.

"Just finished up a busy emergency department critical care shift, and hoping I stay healthy enough to go back for another,"Dr. Kelly Wongof Brown Emergency Medicine in Rhode Island wrote onTwitterlast week."This mask and these safety glasses went into a paper bag with my name on it so that I can reuse them tomorrow on shift... and maybe the next shift... and maybe the next shift #GetMePPE."

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Reusing N95 masks in coronavirus pandemic possible with this technology - Fox Business

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