N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment are meant for one time use only. The manufacturers ensured that the N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment will be discarded after one time use.
In this article, let us discuss one innovation that could help the world during this pandemic. The University of Louisville came up with the smart solution on the production of reusable N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment.
Reusable N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment seems too good to be true but it is hoped that the world would see them soon. This seems to be exactly what was on the mind of manufacturers of the innovation.
Production began on the new University of Louisville which developed a face mask that is much like the N95 masks. The innovators aim to provide an N95 mask that is washable, reusable, and are low cost. The goal is to make sure that the masks could be able to protect the individuals by filtering out the coronavirus droplets and all other airborne particles and viruses. The masks are now commercially available and the end goal is to produce the masks with FDA authorization.
Production Is Starting
The great thing about the innovation is the fact that production is already starting. AdhviQ Technologies LLC, opened in late November on the University of Louisville Belknap campus.
According to sources, the production now creates 50 of the N95 masks. They also create about 100 three-ply non-surgical masks per minute. The production is also able to create filters for cloth masks. This meant that there is a new player in the personal protective equipment industry and they are here to stay.
Mahendra Sunkara is the main innovator. Together with other UofL researchers, they invented the masks in order to properly address the shortages of personal protective equipment.
While the usual N95 masks are commonly worn disposable masks are meant only for a single-use, the new masks are meant to be reused. They are created by the nanowire-woven fabric and can be washed and reused multiple times. They also aim that the mask can filter down to 0.1 microns.
Sunkara, in a statement released to the homegrown newspaper of the University of Louisville talked about the importance of reusing masks or at least the ability to do so. “Being able to reuse masks and filters effectively can help people protect themselves in everyday settings like grocery stores, but they could especially help health care workers, who may not have access to as many disposable masks as they need to do their jobs safely. With these masks, they could wash and wear the same one over and over again without losing effectiveness.”
The Difference Of The Reusable Masks
There are different masks that individuals should know about but the two most important nowadays seem to be the N95 masks and this new creation coming from the University of Louisville.
The N95 style-masks are made from inorganic nanowires. The nanowires are woven into a special polymer cloth in order to form a more porous network. This is highly important when it comes down to capturing the viral particles or to letting the viral particles pass through.
The new innovation masks are made from a nanowire composed of titania and zinc oxide. The end product of the masks also can easily be disinfected.
For the reuse to be possible, there is a required process of disinfection. The known process of disinfection is to use a low-energy ultraviolet light as an alternative to disinfecting with soap and water.
The nanowire masks used for N95 masks and the new innovation from current N95 masks are very different. The usual N95 mask,m relies on an electrostatic charge on polymer fiber cloth to capture and filter out particles, germs, bacteria, and viruses.
Currently, the new innovation masks are available for order on the AdhviQ website. However, their application for the certification is yet to get acted upon by the FDA and needs further testing.
Can I Reuse The N95 Masks I Currently Have?
The N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment are all meant for one time use only. Individuals have long tried to get N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment and decontaminate them for reuse and this is possible.
There are a lot of individuals who have tried decontamination methods. Even the United States federal government has done their part in ensuring that the use of the N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment can be maximized by entering into a contract with decontamination specialist companies.
Try Out The Innovation
If you are part of the general population, you should definitely try out the innovation. There are a lot of new N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment that are meant for one time use only and some individuals need to face the reality that they need to do so.
If you are not part of the healthcare workers and first line responders, you should try out the innovative new N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment so that those who are in the frontlines can have the N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment that are meant for them. If possible, you may also donate some N95 masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment to the essential healthcare workers.