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MIDP students get creative to decontaminate respirator masks

Posted by on Monday, October 5, 2020 in Fall 2020, Related Content .

Students from the Medical Innovators Development Program (MIDP) within the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) devised a protocol that repurposed hospital blanket warmers to decontaminate N95 respirator masks — a process that could extend the current supply of the disposable masks by allowing them to be reused up to five times.

The proposed protocol came in response to a global shortage of personal protective equipment for health care workers fighting COVID-19, who rely on the N95 masks to filter the air and prevent airborne exposure when working with infected patients.

The protocol was designed during a five-day COVID-19 Virtual Design Challenge organized by the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. The MIDP team at Vanderbilt was one of 230 selected to participate out of 515 entries across 35 countries and consisted of six students from three different VUSM class years.

Under the protocol, masks could go through the decontamination process up to four times as long as they have not been damaged.