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Protection Level and Reusability of a Modified Full-Face Snorkel Mask as Alternative Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Jean Schmitt, Lewis S. Jones, Elise A. Aeby, Christian Gloor, Berthold Moser, Jing Wang

Posted 18 Aug 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.16.20176081

The worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 drastically increased pressure on medical resources and highlighted the need for rapidly available, large-scale and low-cost personal protective equipment (PPE). In this work, an alternative full-face mask is adapted from a modified snorkel mask to be used as PPE with two medical grade filters and a 3D-printed adapter. As the mask covers the eyes, mouth and nose, it acts as a full-face shield, providing additional protection to healthcare workers. The filtration efficiency of different medical filters is measured for particles below 300 nm to cover the size of the SARS-CoV-2 and small virus-laden droplets. The filtration performance of the adapted full-face mask is characterized using NaCl particles below 500 nm and different fitting scenarios. The mask is compared to a commercial respirator and characterized according to the EN 149 standard, demonstrating that the protection fulfills the requirements for the FFP2 level (filtering face-piece 2, stopping at least 94% of airborne particles). The device shows a good resistance to several cycles of decontamination (autoclaving and ethanol immersion), is easy to be produced locally at low cost and helps addressing the shortage in FFP2 masks and face shields by providing adequate protection to healthcare workers against particles below 500 nm.

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