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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recent developments in filtration media and respirator technology in response to COVID-19.



The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a surge in demand for N95 or equivalent respirators that the global supply chain was unable to satisfy. This shortage in critical equipment has inspired research that addresses the immediate problems and has accelerated the development of the next-generation filtration media and respirators. This article provides a brief review of the most recent work with regard to face respirators and filtration media. We discuss filtration efficiency of the widely utilized cloth masks. Next, the sterilization of and reuse of existing N95 respirators to extend the existing stockpile is discussed. To expand near-term supplies, optimization of current manufacturing methods, such as melt-blown processes and electrospinning, has been explored. Future manufacturing methods have been investigated to address long-term supply shortages. Novel materials with antiviral and sterilizable properties with the ability for multiple reuses have been developed and will contribute to the development of the next generation of longer lasting multi-use N95 respirators. Finally, additively manufactured respirators are reviewed, which enable a rapidly deployable source of reusable respirators that can use any filtration fabric.

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