Decontamination of SARS-CoV-2 and Other RNA Viruses from N95 Level Meltblown Polypropylene Fabric Using Heat under Different Humidities.ACS Nano. 2020 10 27; 14(10):14017-14025.AN
In March of 2020, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The pandemic led to a shortage of N95-grade filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), especially surgical-grade N95 FFRs for protection of healthcare professionals against airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. We and others have previously reported promising decontamination methods that may be applied to the recycling and reuse of FFRs. In this study we tested disinfection of three viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, dried on a piece of meltblown fabric, the principal component responsible for filtering of fine particles in N95-level FFRs, under a range of temperatures (60-95 °C) at ambient or 100% relative humidity (RH) in conjunction with filtration efficiency testing. We found that heat treatments of 75 °C for 30 min or 85 °C for 20 min at 100% RH resulted in efficient decontamination from the fabric of SARS-CoV-2, human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63), and another enveloped RNA virus, chikungunya virus vaccine strain 181/25 (CHIKV-181/25), without lowering the meltblown fabric's filtration efficiency.