Using valved respirators to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has been discouraged due to concerns that valves do not effectively filter particles from exhaled air, but few studies actually have looked at this. Now, researchers report in Environmental Science & Technology Letters on their performance.
Three technologies developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have won National Technology Transfer Awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium. The annual FLC Awards recognize significant accomplishments in transferring federal laboratory technologies to the marketplace.
Matthew Staymates, fluid dynamicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is studying different mask types to determine which are the most effective at reducing disease transmission. In Physics of Fluids, he describes exploring the basic flow dynamics of N95 masks with or without exhalation valves. To do this, he generates stunning video from his schlieren imaging, a method to visualize the fluid flow away from the surface of an object, and light scattering.
Dermatology researchers at Henry Ford Health System, in collaboration with a team at the University of Michigan, have demonstrated that certain N95 respirators tainted with COVID-19 can be effectively and safely decontaminated for reuse using ultraviolet-C light (UV-C), a method commonly utilized for treating rare skin diseases.
Researchers say the outside and inside of the facemasks were decontaminated in a prototype phototherapy unit that dispenses a UV-C dosing level high enough to effectively kill the virus in less than two minutes while still preserving the facemask’s breathability, fit and overall integrity.
Infection prevention experts at the UNC Medical Center set out to gather evidence on the fitted filtration efficiency of dozens of different types of masks and mask modifications, including masks sterilized for reuse, expired masks, novel masks sourced from domestic and overseas sources, and homemade masks.
A media comprised of a sandwich of materials, tested by Sandia National Laboratories, is being manufactured into N95-like respirators that could be used in local medical facilities. The project originated from the urgent need for personal protective equipment when the COVID-19 outbreak began.
Sandia National Laboratories is teaming with local hospitals and medical device manufacturers to increase the availability of respirator masks for health care workers.
The idea of UV sterilization is not a new one, but little or no scientific data about its potency against COVID-19 have been collected, until now. Thanks to a one-year, $182,728 grant from the National Science Foundation, researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York are beginning to test UV’s effectiveness.
LLNL researchers are studying ways to safely and rapidly remove viral threats from N95 respirators, without compromising the device’s fit and its ability to filter airborne particles, so they can be re-used.