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Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
mSphere. 2020 10 21; 5(5)M

Abstract

Guidelines from the CDC and the WHO recommend the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19); however, the protective efficiency of such masks against airborne transmission of infectious severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2) droplets/aerosols is unknown. Here, we developed an airborne transmission simulator of infectious SARS-CoV-2-containing droplets/aerosols produced by human respiration and coughs and assessed the transmissibility of the infectious droplets/aerosols and the ability of various types of face masks to block the transmission. We found that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks all have a protective effect with respect to the transmission of infective droplets/aerosols of SARS-CoV-2 and that the protective efficiency was higher when masks were worn by a virus spreader. Importantly, medical masks (surgical masks and even N95 masks) were not able to completely block the transmission of virus droplets/aerosols even when completely sealed. Our data will help medical workers understand the proper use and performance of masks and determine whether they need additional equipment to protect themselves from infected patients.IMPORTANCE Airborne simulation experiments showed that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks provide some protection from the transmission of infective SARS-CoV-2 droplets/aerosols; however, medical masks (surgical masks and even N95 masks) could not completely block the transmission of virus droplets/aerosols even when sealed.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Division of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.Division of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.Division of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.Division of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.Clinical Research Division, Virus Research Center, National Hospital Organization Sendai Medical Center, Sendai, Japan.Division of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan yoshihiro.kawaoka@wisc.edu. Department of Special Pathogens, International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

33087517

Citation

Ueki, Hiroshi, et al. "Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2." MSphere, vol. 5, no. 5, 2020.
Ueki H, Furusawa Y, Iwatsuki-Horimoto K, et al. Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2. mSphere. 2020;5(5).
Ueki, H., Furusawa, Y., Iwatsuki-Horimoto, K., Imai, M., Kabata, H., Nishimura, H., & Kawaoka, Y. (2020). Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2. MSphere, 5(5). https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00637-20
Ueki H, et al. Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2. mSphere. 2020 10 21;5(5) PubMed PMID: 33087517.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2. AU - Ueki,Hiroshi, AU - Furusawa,Yuri, AU - Iwatsuki-Horimoto,Kiyoko, AU - Imai,Masaki, AU - Kabata,Hiroki, AU - Nishimura,Hidekazu, AU - Kawaoka,Yoshihiro, Y1 - 2020/10/21/ PY - 2020/10/22/entrez PY - 2020/10/23/pubmed PY - 2020/11/11/medline KW - COVID-19 KW - N95 masks KW - SARS-CoV-2 KW - aerosols KW - droplets KW - face masks JF - mSphere JO - mSphere VL - 5 IS - 5 N2 - Guidelines from the CDC and the WHO recommend the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19); however, the protective efficiency of such masks against airborne transmission of infectious severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2) droplets/aerosols is unknown. Here, we developed an airborne transmission simulator of infectious SARS-CoV-2-containing droplets/aerosols produced by human respiration and coughs and assessed the transmissibility of the infectious droplets/aerosols and the ability of various types of face masks to block the transmission. We found that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks all have a protective effect with respect to the transmission of infective droplets/aerosols of SARS-CoV-2 and that the protective efficiency was higher when masks were worn by a virus spreader. Importantly, medical masks (surgical masks and even N95 masks) were not able to completely block the transmission of virus droplets/aerosols even when completely sealed. Our data will help medical workers understand the proper use and performance of masks and determine whether they need additional equipment to protect themselves from infected patients.IMPORTANCE Airborne simulation experiments showed that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks provide some protection from the transmission of infective SARS-CoV-2 droplets/aerosols; however, medical masks (surgical masks and even N95 masks) could not completely block the transmission of virus droplets/aerosols even when sealed. SN - 2379-5042 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/33087517/Effectiveness_of_Face_Masks_in_Preventing_Airborne_Transmission_of_SARS_CoV_2_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00637-20 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -