07 Apr How Well Do Surgical and Cotton Masks Block COVID-19?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sung-Han Kim, MD, PhD.
Professor, Department of Infectious Diseases
Chief, Office for Infection Control
Asan Medical Center
University of Ulsan College of Medicine
Seoul, South Korea
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The pandemic spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is leading to a global shortage of surgical masks, and cotton masks are gaining interest as a possible substitute for surgical masks. However, the filtration efficacies of the two types of masks against SARS-CoV-2 are unknown.
To test the efficacies of surgical masks and cotton masks in filtering SARS-CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Main findings are neither surgical mask nor cotton mask effectively filtered SARS-CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with mild-to-moderate degrees of COVID-19. Outer surfaces of all masks were positive for SARS-CoV-2.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?
For preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2: Cloth masks and surgical masks were inadequate for use in coughing patients. However, we are not sure as to whether the masks shortened the distance of viral particle transmission, and further studies are needed for their use in routine activities such as talking. Masks with high filtration efficiencies should also be tested in this regard.
For protection against SARS-CoV-2: We are unsure as to whether cloth masks and surgical masks will be sufficiently helpful in protecting the wearer from airborne particles containing SARS-CoV-2, but extrapolation from previous studies suggests that those masks would be beneficial. The protective effect of face masks are likely the strongest with N95 respirators or their equivalent, followed by surgical masks and cloth masks, but such conjecture should be supported by empirical evidence derived from a targeted study.
Effectiveness of Surgical and Cotton Masks in Blocking SARS–CoV-2: A Controlled Comparison in 4 Patients
Seongman Bae, MD *; Min-Chul Kim, MD *; Ji Yeun Kim, PhD *; Hye-Hee Cha, BS; Joon Seo Lim, PhD; Jiwon Jung, MD; Min-Jae Kim, MD; Dong Kyu Oh, MD; Mi-Kyung Lee, MD; Seong-Ho Choi, MD; Minki Sung, PhD; Sang-Bum Hong, MD; Jin-Won Chung, MD; Sung-Han Kim, MD
Ann Intern Med. 2020.
Published at www.annals.org on 6 April 2020
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