PLoS ONE | 2021

UV decontamination of personal protective equipment with idle laboratory biosafety cabinets during the COVID-19 pandemic



Personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucially important to the safety of both patients and medical personnel, particularly in the event of an infectious pandemic. As the incidence of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) increases exponentially in the United States and many parts of the world, healthcare provider demand for these necessities is currently outpacing supply. In the midst of the current pandemic, there has been a concerted effort to identify viable ways to conserve PPE, including decontamination after use. In this study, we outline a procedure by which PPE may be decontaminated using ultraviolet (UV) radiation in biosafety cabinets (BSCs), a common element of many academic, public health, and hospital laboratories. According to the literature, effective decontamination of N95 respirator masks or surgical masks requires UV-C doses of greater than 1 Jcm−2, which was achieved after 4.3 hours per side when placing the N95 at the bottom of the BSCs tested in this study. We then demonstrated complete inactivation of the human coronavirus NL63 on N95 mask material after 15 minutes of UV-C exposure at 61 cm (232 μWcm−2). Our results provide support to healthcare organizations looking for methods to extend their reserves of PPE.

Volume 16
Pages None
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0241734
Language English
Journal PLoS ONE

Full Text