Investigadores han encontrado una manera de esterilizar y reutilizar máscaras faciales

Durante la pandemia este recurso es uno de los más necesitados, ahora con está técnica los hospitales podrán aprovecharlas de mejor manera.

Ante una escasez crítica de máscaras faciales N95 que bloquean el coronavirus, los investigadores de los equipos clínicos y de investigación de Duke Health en Carolina del Norte han confirmado una forma de utilizar los métodos de descontaminación existentes para limpiar y reutilizar las máscaras.

El proceso utiliza equipos especializados para aerosolizar peróxido de hidrógeno, que impregna las capas de la máscara para matar los gérmenes, incluidos los virus, sin degradar el material de la máscara.

“Esta es una tecnología y método de descontaminación que hemos utilizado durante años en nuestro laboratorio de biocontención”, dijo Scott Alderman, director asociado del Laboratorio Regional de Biocontención de Duke.

“Nunca habíamos considerado necesitarlo para algo como máscaras faciales. Pero ahora hemos demostrado que funciona y comenzará a usar la tecnología de inmediato en los tres hospitales de Duke Health “, dijo el Dr. Matthew Stiegel, director de la Oficina de seguridad ambiental y ocupacional.

El proceso de descontaminación debe mantener un número significativo de máscaras N95 en uso en el Hospital de la Universidad de Duke, así como en los hospitales Duke Regional y Duke Raleigh, aliviando parte de la escasez y frenando la necesidad de otras alternativas utilizando técnicas de descontaminación no comprobadas.

El uso de peróxido de hidrógeno para descontaminar las máscaras N95 fue probado y publicado por otros en 2016, pero no resultó en una adaptación generalizada. Los estudios anteriores no incluían pruebas de ajuste después de la limpieza, básicamente dimensionando las máscaras para usuarios individuales, para demostrar la eficacia en el mundo real, lo que Duke ha hecho ahora.

El proceso de descontaminación requiere un equipo especializado que aerosoliza el peróxido de hidrógeno y una instalación cerrada donde las máscaras pueden exponerse al vapor. No se producen subproductos tóxicos, porque el peróxido de hidrógeno se descompone en agua.

“La capacidad de reutilizar las máscaras N95 cruciales aumentará la capacidad de los hospitales para proteger a los trabajadores de atención médica de primera línea durante este tiempo de escasez crítica de máscaras N95”, dijo Cameron Wolfe, profesor asociado de medicina y especialista en enfermedades infecciosas.

Gracias a nuestros amigos de Nation por la redacción original de esta nota.

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