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COVID-19 Response: Decontamination of N95 Masks

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises, shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) are forcing hospitals, care centers, and first responders across the country to reuse their limited supply of these critical resources. The lack of new (and sterile) protective devices puts healthcare workers at increased risk of infection.

In order to better protect clinicians from contracting the disease, one approach is to decontaminate used N95 masks. N95DECON is a scientific consortium for the data-driven study of the N95 filtering mask respirator decontamination — a volunteer collective of scientists, engineers, clinicians, and students from universities across the US as well as other professionals in the private sector.

The Foundation is supporting a team of researchers from Harvard University that are part of the N95DECON collaboration with a $75,000 grant to develop, validate, and document heat- and humidity-based decontamination procedures for N95 masks. The goal is to generate standard operating procedures that can be rapidly, safely, and inexpensively implemented in a wide variety of health care settings, from large urban hospitals to small rural clinics.

COVID-19, Science