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Source: COVID-19 Mask And PPE  Jan 02, 2022  1 year, 11 months, 2 days, 1 hour, 50 minutes ago

MUST READ! SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Can Remain Infectious And Active On Face Mask And PPE Equipment For As Long As 5 to 8 Days!

MUST READ! SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Can Remain Infectious And Active On Face Mask And PPE Equipment For As Long As 5 to 8 Days!
Source: COVID-19 Mask And PPE  Jan 02, 2022  1 year, 11 months, 2 days, 1 hour, 50 minutes ago
COVID-19 Mask And PPE: Disturbing study findings have emerged from a new study by researchers from the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands-Spain (Instituto Universitario de Enfermedades Tropicales y Salud Pública de Canarias) in which it was found that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can remain active and infectious for as long as 5 to 7 days on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)and face masks!

The study findings have great implications for health care workers and also first responders and other key critical staff that use such PPEs on a daily basis and emphasizes the need for proper disinfection and even disposal.

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The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus stability and infection persistence has been studied on different surfaces, but scarce data exist related to personal protective equipment (PPE), moreover using realist viral loads for infection. Due to the importance for adequate PPE management to avoid risk of virus infection, RNA stability was evaluated on PPE.
The study team focused on the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and detection of genomic RNA in PPE (gowns and face masks) which were determined by in-vitro assays and RT-qPCR, respectively. Samples were infected with a clinical sample positive for SARS-CoV-2 (Clin-Inf), and with a heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 strain sample (Str-Inf) as a control.
Alarmingly, the study finding showed that PPE samples infected with Clin-Inf were positive for the 3 viral genes (N, S and ORF1ab) on gowns up to 5 days post-infection, whereas these overall genes were detected up to 30 days in the case of face masks.
However, gowns and FFP2 masks samples contaminated with Clin-Inf showed a cytopathic effect over VERO cells up to 5–7 days post-infection.
The study findings showed that SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected on different PPE materials for 5 to 30 days, but PPE contaminated with the virus was infectious up to 5–7 days.
The study findings demonstrate the need to improve PPE management and to formulate strategies to introduce viricidal compounds in PPE fabrics.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: BMC Infectious Diseases.
The in vitro assays data support that PPE materials (gowns and masks) infected with a clinical sample positive for SARS-CoV-2 maintained its infectiveness up to 5–7 days post-in fection. This is accordance to the 7 days previously described for surgical masks and could have practical implications.
However, the study findings also showed detection of viral genes in different types of PPE for up to 5 days after viral infection, and in some cases viral RNA was detected after 30 days!
Moreover, gown samples produced lower virus survival since the 3 viral genes were detected up to 5 days in both types of infection, with the genomic RNA from the heat-inactivated virus strain or with the clinical sample positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Alarmingly in the case of face masks, the viral RNA stability was shown up to 15 days in the case of the control of genomic RNA viral strain and for 30 days when infected with the clinical sample positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Many studies have demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 persist on different surfaces for several days, however the limitation of most of these studies is that virus infections were performed with high viral loads resembling unrealistic scenarios.
However, in this study, the study team used a viral load corresponding to a more realistic situation, by using a human nasopharyngeal sample positive for SARS-CoV-2 to infect different PPEs samples.
Past studies reported viral loads of SARS-CoV-2 in clinical samples ranged from a median of 7.99 × 104 copies per mL in throat samples and 7.52 × 105 in sputum samples post onset to overall higher values > 1 × 106 copies per mL of the viral load early after onset.
Hence to accurately quantify the expected viral copy number of a clinical sample, a reliable and robust standard curve must be established.
For this study, a nasopharyngeal sample was quantified by qPCR using a reliable standard curve performed with an appropriate reference material. From the resulting data, the study team decided to use a viral load concentration within approximate ranges (104 viral copies) for infecting PPE samples trying to resemble a real situation.
Importantly the observed differences between the persistence of viral detection when infecting with a SARS-CoV-2 positive clinical sample (Clin-Inf) or viral RNA from a heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 strain (Str-Inf) used as a control, are consistent to their different nature.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus contained in the nasopharyngeal cells presents its protective capsid which preserves its genomic material for a longer period, as it was observed in the study. Whereas the capsid of the heat inactivated commercial strain has functional and structural alterations that turn the virus non-infectious but more labile. Virus persistence was determined by the detection of viral RNA in different PPE materials.
The study findings also found that the composition material of face masks (FPP2 type), seems to be more suitable for virus stability probably due to its more porous nature, when compared to gown´s fabric.
Importantly the COVID-19 Mask And PPE study findings demonstrate that virus infectious viability on different surfaces should not only be tested by using molecular techniques, since genes could be detected longer than viral infective viability.
The study team concluded, “PPE materials contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 remain infective between 5 to 7 days. Viral genomic RNA was detected in different PPE materials for 5 to 30 days in the case of face masks. We believe that these findings demonstrate the need of improving PPE fabric composition and to evaluate the addition of viricidal compounds to them. The responsible management of these PPE is crucial to avoid SARS-CoV-2 infection by contact of these items even many days after they are removed.”

Thailand Medical News would like to add that these study findings are also critical for the common people as many are not handling the usage of their daily mask properly like when taking the mask out while eating or drinking and putting them on again, or when removing  or disposing of their mask upon reaching home or the habit of reusing these mask without properly disinfecting them.
Though proper medical N95 mask like the 3M Aura 1870 Plus mask are expensive, they should not be reused often and individuals should also carry a portable mask disinfector that uses UV light to even disinfect their mask before putting it on again after a short break during eating or drinking.(Please note that with all the never emerging variants such as the Omicron, newer Delta subvariants, the B.1.640.2 variants etc, the common surgical mask and even so called loose fitting respirators are not adequate to provide proper protection. Only genuinely certified proper fitting medical grade N95 mask will do. The usage of googles or any eye protection, medical grade ear plugs and also personal air ionizers such as the ible airvida ionizer are highly recommended. Proper habits of removing clothes upon arriving home at a designated spot that is close to a washing machine preferable with a hot water and heat drying, footwear and  feet sterilization before entering the home, hand washing and also immediate hot showers with a soap and shampoo disinfectant are all good practices especially when one is dealing with the new variants. Its best to not contract the Omicron variant despite the initial symptoms being mild as one would pay a heavy price with the long-term health complications or long COVID conditions it brings along in the future!
With the Omicron variant fast spreading, it has already emerging that due to structural conformational changes in the genome, the Omicron can even remain far more active and infectious outside the human host and on surfaces for longer periods and withstand even extreme environmental conditions and it is also has what  can be termed as “enhanced airborne properties.”

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