N95DECON Scientific Consortium Compiles Critical Research on N95 Mask

Arthur Trapotsis
Written by: Arthur Trapotsis

MS Biochemical Engineering, MBA, Consultant

April 2, 2020 – The ongoing shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 masks, during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has forced many hospitals, care centers, and first responders to reuse their limited supply of critical resources. This lack of protective devices puts healthcare workers at increased risk of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. A volunteer collective has come together in an effort to reduce the risk associated with N95 reuse.

Known as N95DECON, this collective consists of volunteer scientists, engineers, clinicians, and students from 10 universities across the United States, as well as other professionals in the private sector. N95DECON’s objective is to review, collate, publish, and disseminate scientific information about N95decontamination to aid in decisions about N95 reuse. Another key effort of this collective is to identify important information that might be used in future joint research projects.

Over the past two weeks, N95DECON team members have met online to exchange information, suggestions, and ideas in an open and transparent way. This involved reviewing a large body of information concerning N95 decontamination and deliberating over different methods based on evidence from scientific literature and available. These discussions strictly adhered to the principles of exploring whether the data was convincing, definitive, complete, and reproducible.

Amit Gupta, Director of Engineering at Consolidated Sterilizer Systems, contributed to this effort by offering expertise on the topics of sterilization and disinfection, as well as real-world practices within laboratory and healthcare settings.

“This project came about because everyone involved wanted to find a way to help out in this time of crisis,” said Gupta. “Many of us aren’t doctors or nurses, we aren’t developing vaccines or diagnostic tests, but we recognized that we do have valuable expertise we could leverage to help those on the front lines.”

The official N95DECON report will be updated with new information as it emerges. It is important to note that this work in no way addresses or remedies the PPE shortage but rather suggests contingency strategies to reduce the risk associated with N95 reuse for healthcare workers.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about this virus,” said Gupta. “We wanted to compile all of the relevant literature into a coherent, reliable set of documents in an effort to combat that misinformation. Our hope is that this resource will promote personal safety by preventing people from doing things that they might think are best practice, but actually aren’t.”

This work is motivated by N95DECON team members’ deep appreciation and gratitude for the workers at the frontlines of this pandemic. The scientific community is working to support these individuals by exploring and mobilizing scientific literature and research teams to provide data-backed solutions against threats to their health and safety.

To see the full report, please visit N95decon.org.


DISCLAIMER: N95DECON is not sponsored by any group, nor does it represent the interests of any public/private organization or any specific technology. 

Media Contact 
Please email them at [email protected] for general questions.

For scientific questions, please contact:
Amy Herr, (UC Berkeley) [email protected]
Margaret Gardel, (U. Chicago) [email protected]
Jill Cirttenden (MIT) [email protected]

For questions about this consortium, please contact:
Kevin Fu (U. Michigan), [email protected]
Many Prakash(Stanford) [email protected]
Hana El-Samad (UCSF), [email protected]

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