Promising Yale study shows how N95s could be reprocessed in the midst of coronavirus


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – It could potentially be a game changer for people on the front-lines of fighting COVID-19.

Right now, the supply of N-95s, is dwindling across the country. But there could soon be a backup plan.

An N-95 looks like a mask but is specialized protective gear used by health care personnel to treat patients with COVID-19.

It’s a respirator, filtering the air, the wearer breathes. They are usually thrown out after use. Now, there could be a way to reprocess them.

Dr. Patrick Kenney explains, “N-95’s still have their filtration ability when they are being discarded and it seems it’s a valuable resource that is being thrown away.”

It’s the job of Dr. Patrick Kenney with Yale Medicine, to make sure staff throughout the Yale New Haven Health System, have the critical medical equipment they need.

He is the co-author of a study, testing a machine that uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide to sterilize a hospital room.

“We are taking that same machine,” he says, “and we are filling a room with racks of N95’s respirators that have been previously used and we are subjecting them to this mist.”

The results are promising.

“What the study showed is that the respirators maintained excellent function and are safe to use,” says Dr. Kenney.

Yale New Haven Health is well resourced right now, but the back-up plan could be a lifeline if needed.

Dr. Kenney says the study still has to undergo a peer review before the data can be shared and before those N95’s reprocessed in the study can be used.

That could happen in a matter of days. Information obviously that could benefit many hospitals right now.

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