You can reuse your N95 mask, just sanitise it in your electric rice cooker! - The Asian Age
Usually one-time-use items, N95 masks can be reused after 50 minutes of dry heat in an electric rice cooker or instant pot, say researchers.
Usually one-time-use items, N95 masks can be reused after 50 minutes of dry heat in an electric rice cooker or instant pot, say researchers.Washington: Fifty minutes of dry heat in an electric cooker, such as a rice cooker or Instant Pot, could effectively sanitise N95 respirator masks, while maintaining their filtration and fit, researchers, including one of Indian origin, have found. According to the findings published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, this could enable wearers to safely reuse limited supplies of the respirators, originally intended to be one-time-use items. N95 respirator masks are the gold standard of personal protective equipment that protect the wearer against airborne droplets and particles, such as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. A cloth mask or surgical mask protects others from droplets the wearer might expel, but a respirator mask protects the wearer by filtering out smaller particles that might carry the virus, said Thanh Nguyen, professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the US. High demand during the COVID-19 pandemic has created severe shortages of face masks for health care providers and other essential workers, prompting a search for creative approaches to sanitization. There are many different ways to sterilise something, but most of them will destroy the filtration or the fit of an N95 respirator, said Professor Vishal Verma from the University of Illinois. Any sanitation method would need to decontaminate all surfaces of the respirator, but equally important is maintaining the filtration efficacy and the fit of the respirator to the face of the wearer. Otherwise, it will not offer the right protection, Verma said. The researchers see potential for the electric-cooker method to be useful for health care workers and first responders, especially those in smaller clinics or hospitals that do not have access to large-scale heat sanitisation equipment. It may be useful for others who may have an N95 respirator at homefor example, from a pre-pandemic home-improvement projectand wish to reuse it, they said. The researchers hypothesised that dry heat might be a method to meet all three criteriadecontamination, filtration and fitwithout requiring special preparation or leaving any chemical residue. They also wanted to find a method that would be widely accessible for people at home. The team decided to test an electric cooker, a type of device many people have in their pantries. They verified that one cooking cycle, which maintains the contents of the cooker at around 100 degrees Celsius for 50 minutes, decontaminated the masks, inside and out, from four different classes of virus, including a coronavirusand did so more effectively than ultraviolet light. We built a chamber in my aerosol-testing lab specifically to look at the filtration of the N95 respirators, and measured particles going through it, Verma said. The respirators maintained their filtration capacity of more than 95 per cent and kept their fit, still properly seated on the wearers face, even after 20 cycles of decontamination in the electric cooker, he said. The researchers note that the heat must be dry heatno water added to the cooker, the temperature should be maintained at 100 degrees Celsius for 50 minutes and a small towel should cover the bottom of the cooker to keep any part of the respirator from coming into direct contact with the heating element. However, multiple masks can be stacked to fit inside the cooker at the same time, Nguyen added. end-of
Blood pressure medicines don't raise COVID-19 risk: Research - The Asian Age
There had been concern arising from animal studies that these drugs might increase body's protein levels which the coronavirus latches on to
There had been concern arising from animal studies that these drugs might increase body's protein levels which the coronavirus latches on toBlood pressure medicines do not increase the risk of COVID-19 infection nor do they increase the risk of becoming seriously ill with the disease, three major studies said Friday, positive news for the millions of people who take them. The research primarily concerned angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), which are also given to diabetes patients to help protect their kidneys. ACE inhibitors include likes of ramipril, lisinopril and other drugs ending in -pril; while ARBs include valsartan and losartan, and generally end in -sartan. There had been concern arising from animal studies that these medicines might increase the body's levels of a protein called ACE2, which the coronavirus latches on to when it invades human cells, increasing people's vulnerability to the disease. Confusing matters further, there were also contradictory animal studies that showed having more ACE2 proteins might lessen an inflammatory reaction in lungs to COVID-19, a beneficial effect. The three new studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Each involved reviewing the records of thousands of coronavirus patients either on or not on the medicines, then using statistical methods to control for other factors like underlying health conditions that might make people more susceptible to serious COVID-19. "We saw no difference in the likelihood of a positive test with ACE inhibitors, with angiotensin receptor blockers," Harmony Reynolds of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine who led one of the studies that involved about 12,600 people told AFP. The studies were "observational," meaning the researchers observed the effect of a risk factor. This type of investigation is always considered weaker than "experimental" where an intervention is introduced along with a control, which leaves less to chance. The authors of an accompanying editorial in the NEJM acknowledged this inherent weakness, but added: "We find it reassuring that three studies in different populations and with different designs arrive at the consistent message." Reynolds said the findings were relieving, because she had been getting questions from worried patients who had read press reports and were asking if they should stop their medicines. "I'm very happy to be able to tell patients that they should continue their blood pressure medications," she said. This is especially important given that lockdown life itself appears to be causing high blood pressure, "maybe from stress or less exercise or eating differently," she added. One of the NEJM studies, led by Mandeep Mehra and Brigham and Women's Hospital, found the drugs were potentially tied to a lower risk of death from COVID-19. But the journal's editorial cautioned that this was not supported by the others and may be due to chance. end-of