Disinfection of N95 masks using UV-C LED (COVID-19)
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV2) outbreak a pandemic. The rate of spread of COVID‑19 is rapidly progressing around the globe and the increasing demand for effective personal protective equipment (PPE) is outpacing availability. Amid the foreseeable depletion of single-use disposable PPE, there is a growing international shortage of N95 masks. Given supply chain challenges, methods to repurpose N95 masks are urgently needed.
UV light has the potential to disinfect masks and support their reuse. In particular, UV light emitted from light emitting diodes (UV-C LEDs) shows specific promise due to its adaptability. Dr. Gagnon and Stoddart from Dalhousie will lead a multi-disciplinary team in collaboration with researchers from the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), AquiSense Technologies and LuminUltra Technologies to develop a comprehensive disinfection strategy for N95 masks. This strategy includes: (i) development of a UV-C LED disinfection protocol for N95 masks that can be rapidly employed by NSHA to repurpose N95 masks, (ii) development of a rapid UV-C LED disinfection validation protocol for N95 masks using rapid biomass indicator technologies that can be used by NSHA for quality assurance and control, and (iii) pilot deployment of a UV-C LED reactor that can be used by NSHA for on-site disinfection of N95 masks.