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A Spray Bottle and Light

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    August 24, 2022 10:17 PM EDT

    Fears surrounding a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak last spring hit home hard for May Chu, PhD, a clinical professor in the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH).Get more news about spray bottle,you can vist our website!

    As a microbiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent to viral-stricken areas of West Africa in the 2000s, she had seen the devastation PPE shortages could cause, losing fellow providers and scores of patients to Lassa fever and the Ebola virus.

    That’s when Chu, a top PPE researcher at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, vowed to make a difference.

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    Many healthcare providers have lost their lives caring for patients due to improper personal protective equipment. That includes Humarr Khan, above, the Chief Medical Officer of the Lassa ward at Kenema General Hospital in Sierra Leone. Khan died of Ebola in 2014 at age 39.

    Now, as COVID-19 ravages developing countries around the world, she thinks maybe she – along with a diverse group of scientists who joined her in a recent study – has found a way to prompt change.

    Chu was a prime instigator behind a study published early online on May 21 in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology that confirmed an effective, inexpensive way to decontaminate PPE and halt the spread of highly transmissible coronaviruses.
    Fueled by the PPE shortage last year that threatened hospital safety in this country and beyond, Chu found it easier than usual to find funding and institutional partners to study a simple method of disinfecting N95 respirators and medical masks.

    Thirteen organizations, universities and laboratories around the world signed on, including the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Called the “Development of Methods for Mask and N95 Decontamination” (DeMaND) study, the researchers discovered that methylene blue, a chemical commonly found on clinic shelves even in developing countries, combined with light can be used to decontaminate N95 respirators and medical masks without compromising integrity.

    Chu hopes the small breakthrough can make a big difference.

    “Cheap and effective inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 on mask and respirators and its protective effects are ever more needed amid COVID-19 surges worldwide, such as in India, Nepal and Turkey,” Chu said. “This research could be a game-changer in its application for PPE reuse and as a preventive measure to kill the virus as it lands on surfaces.”

    The study focused on three coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and tested the method on different models of masks and respirators. The light-activated methylene blue “robustly and consistently” inactivated all three coronaviruses with 99.8% to greater than 99.9% virus inactivation across all PPE tested, the researchers wrote.