University of Saskatchewan researchers successfully decontaminate N95 masks for reuse

Saskatchewan Public Health and the University of Saskatchewan researchers say the goal is to create a backup supply of N95 masks.
By: Greggory Clark
April 11, 2020
Photo courtesy of VIDO-InterVac

A team of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan's VIDO-InterVac lab says thousands of N95 masks could be reused per month with their innovative decontamination process. They successfully decontaminated a small batch of several dozen masks for reuse last week.

"This is a critical initiative that we hope will save lives and protect our health care providers," Dr. Volker Gerdts, director of VIDO-InterVac, told CBC News.

According to Dr. Gerdts, N95 masks can be decontaminated for reuse between 5–10 times. He says his lab could decontaminate approximately two thousand masks per week; and that the process takes about 2–3 days per batch.

Their process for sterilizing used PPE serves as a contingency plan in the event of a critical mask shortage. "We are ready as soon as next week to provide this as a backup if needed," said Dr. Gerdts in an interview for Global News.

The equipment required for this process is only available at a handful of labs in North America, with Saskatoon's VIDO-InterVac being one of them.

Source: University of Saskatchewan, CBC News, Global News



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