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Effect of various decontamination procedures on disposable N95 mask integrity and SARS-CoV-2 infectivity

By Jeffrey S. Smith, Haley Hanseler, John Welle, Rogan Rattray, Mary Campbell, Tacy Brotherton, Tarsem Moudgil, Thomas F. Pack, Keith Wegmann, Shawn Jensen, Justin S. Jin, Carlo B. Bifulco, Scott A. Prahl, Bernard A. Fox, Nicholas L. Stucky

Posted 15 Apr 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.11.20062331

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a high demand on personal protective equipment, including disposable N95 masks. Given the need for mask reuse, we tested the feasibility of vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), ultraviolet light (UV), and ethanol decontamination strategies on N95 mask integrity and the ability to remove the infectious potential of SARS-CoV-2. FIT test data showed functional degradation by both ethanol and UV decontamination to different degrees. VHP treated masks showed no significant change in function after two treatments. We also report a single SARS-CoV-2 virucidal experiment using Vero E6 cell infection. We hope our data will guide further research for evidenced-based decisions for disposable N95 mask reuse and help protect caregivers from SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens.

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