At the beginning of the pandemic COVID-19 shortage of N95 respiratory masks were placed in the difficult situation of health workers and advanced workers who are most in need. This writes CNBC.
The employees of vital industries that relied on N95 mask, had no choice but to wear what was provided within a few weeks. Some began to disinfect the mask for reuse.
Now that the pandemic is once again gaining momentum and hospitals are again overloaded, respirators N95 again in short supply.
But engineers and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT) created a new type of facial mask that can change the course of events. In the laboratory the prototype worked in the same way as the N95 respirator filtering virusologiia particles.
While N95 mask is made entirely of a special material that filters out droplets of liquid that may contain virus COVID-19, new mask MIT is made of silicone, with holes for the two small filters used in N95. This means that the mask can be quickly and easily sterilized and reused, and although the little filters must be disposed of, for each mask required much less material than for N95.
This design, called iMASC, can help solve the problems of scarcity.
The researchers said that the iMASC can be sterilized in several different ways that do not affect its efficiency. For example, researchers could use a steam sterilizer for the mask, put the mask in the oven and soaked them in bleach and alcohol. For processing of used N95 masks, disinfectants containing hydrogen peroxide, to neutralize any viruses requires special equipment and it takes a few days. In addition, masks can be worn only one day and a maximum of 20 times.
Researchers iMASC “wanted to maximize the ability to reuse masks,” — said in a press release Giovanni Traverso, associate Professor of mechanical engineering Department of MIT.
Adam Wentworth, research engineer and research fellow at the Institute Koch, said that the new mask can also be more environmentally friendly — it uses less disposable material, which leads to a much smaller amount of waste.
While masks have been found effective and convenient.
A group of 24 health professionals (including nurses, doctors and technicians) wore new masks and took tests, which included ease of breathing, talking, head movement and body expression. The participants said that the mask fits well and very comfortable. Most importantly, the mask was successfully filtered out the sugar solution in the air, which was used for simulation of aerosol droplets of the respiratory tract.