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Assessment of the Qualitative Fit Test and Quantitative Single-Pass Filtration Efficiency of Disposable N95 Masks Following Gamma Irradiation

Educational Objective
To understand if cobalt-60 gamma irradiation can be used to sterilize N95 masks
1 Credit CME

The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has led to a dramatic shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment in hospitals around the globe. One component of personal protective equipment, the disposable N95 face mask, is in particular demand.1,2 To alleviate a shortage of N95 masks, many methods to resterilize them have been proposed and studied.3 Any method for resterilizing masks must not degrade the filtration efficiency of the mask.

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Article Information

Accepted for Publication: April 28, 2020.

Published: May 26, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.9961

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2020 Cramer A et al. JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding Author: Avilash Cramer, MS, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, 149 13th St, Room 2.406, Charlestown, MA 02129 (avilash@mit.edu).

Author Contributions: Mr Cramer and Dr Short had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Cramer, Gupta, Short.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Cramer, Tian, Galanek, Lamere, Li, Short.

Drafting of the manuscript: Cramer, Galanek, Gupta, Short.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Cramer, Tian, Lamere, Li, Gupta, Short.

Statistical analysis: Cramer, Tian.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Tian, Lamere, Li, Gupta, Short.

Supervision: Li, Gupta, Short.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Additional Contributions: Sherry H. Yu, MD (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) assisted with the qualitative fit test. Jinhan Mo, PhD, (Tsinghua University) contributed to the design of the filtration testing apparatus. They were not compensated for their time. The PanFab Consortium and the MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering Department helped connect us with appropriate resources.

References
1.
Feng  S , Shen  C , Xia  N , Song  W , Fan  M , Cowling  BJ .  Rational use of face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic.   Lancet Respir Med. Published online March 20, 2020. doi:10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30134-XPubMedGoogle Scholar
2.
Bauchner  H , Fontanarosa  PB , Livingston  EH .  Conserving supply of personal protective equipment: a call for ideas.   JAMA. Published online March 20, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.4770PubMedGoogle Scholar
3.
Viscusi  DJ , Bergman  MS , Eimer  BC , Shaffer  RE .  Evaluation of five decontamination methods for filtering facepiece respirators.   Ann Occup Hyg. 2009;53(8):815-827.PubMedGoogle Scholar
4.
Feldmann  F , Shupert  WL , Haddock  E , Twardoski  B , Feldmann  H .  Gamma irradiation as an effective method for inactivation of emerging viral pathogens.   Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019;100(5):1275-1277. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.18-0937PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
5.
Sullivan  R , Fassolitis  AC , Larkin  EP , Read  RB  Jr , Peeler  JT .  Inactivation of thirty viruses by gamma radiation.   Appl Microbiol. 1971;22(1):61-65. doi:10.1128/AEM.22.1.61-65.1971PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
6.
Harrell  CR , Djonov  V , Fellabaum  C , Volarevic  V .  Risks of using sterilization by gamma radiation: the other side of the coin.   Int J Med Sci. 2018;15(3):274-279. doi:10.7150/ijms.22644PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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