COVID-19: Evaluation of Disinfection Options for N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators in the Context of the Pandemic

This evaluation presents promising processes and devices authorized by Health Canada for the disinfection of single-use N95 masks, as alternatives of last resort in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the real shortage of N95 masks. The results for disinfection of N95 masks reported in the literature derive from pilot scale tests. The results of N95 disinfection process testing allow for verification of the safety and feasibility criteria used in this evaluation. Feasibility criteria may vary depending on the disinfection process and device used. It is therefore important to refer to the disinfection instructions for N95 masks provided by the manufacturer of the device used.

An easily accessible short-term option is the disinfection of N95 masks in the low-temperature sterilizers available in MDRDs. In fact, under the Interim Order Respecting the Importation and Sale of Medical Devices for Use in Relation to COVID-19, Health Canada has authorized the disinfection of N95 masks using various models of low-temperature sterilizers (Health Canada, 2020a).

A hydrogen peroxide vaporizer (room disinfection device), which could theoretically yield a much higher performance than low-temperature sterilizers has also been authorized by Health Canada for the disinfection of N95 masks (Health Canada, 2020a). However, this technology is rarely found within Québec's health network.

Although a promising technology, UVC disinfection devices are not yet authorized in Canada. However, a disinfection device using a combination of UVC radiation, vaporized hydrogen peroxide and ozone has been authorized (Health Canada, 2020a). To our knowledge, this device is not currently found in Québec health care facilities.

In addition, a number of initiatives taken within the health network have been reported. The CERDM would like to be informed of these initiatives so it can support facilities, in particular, by developing protocols, conducting tests on disinfected masks (existing partnership with a research laboratory) and facilitating the dissemination of information concerning the options for disinfection of N95 masks.

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Les éléments de réponses présentés ci-dessus sont basés sur l’information disponible au moment de rédiger cette évaluation. Puisque la situation et les connaissances sur le virus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) évoluent rapidement, les conclusions formulées dans ce document sont sujettes à modifications. En cas d’informations contradictoires entre les instructions du fabricant et les études citées dans le présent document ou tout autre étude, les instructions du fabricant ont préséance.

COVID-19: Evaluation of Disinfection Options  for N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators in the  Context of the Pandemic

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