High performance homemade masks for protection against COVID‑19 virus

Hashisho, Zaher | $75,000

Alberta University of Alberta 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

During COVID‑19 pandemic, severe shortage in disposable filtering facepiece respirators such as N95 respirators and surgical masks, have been reported in most if not all countries. This shortage is of grave concern, particularly among frontline healthcare workers as well as other frontline workers in contact with the public during a pandemic. In the absence of certified respirators, the public might improvise face masks using common household materials. However, there is limited evidence about the performance of these materials in protecting the user against bioaerosols.

The objectives of this research are to study the performance of select household materials for use in homemade masks and recommend suitable configurations for select household materials to achieve a performance similar to N95 respirator material.

This research is aligned with the government effort to protect the public and frontline workers, given the shortage of N95 respirators and surgical masks during COVID‑19 pandemic and possibly future respiratory infection outbreaks. The results from this research can be used to guide the public on selecting appropriate material for making face masks, which can ease the demand on N95 respirators and surgical masks needed for frontline health workers. The results from this research will be made public for the benefit of the general population.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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