This New Prototype N95 Mask Designed by Harvard And MIT Is Reusable And Hygienic

Science Alert – by Peter Dockrill

Not every mask is equal. As countries around the world grapple with varying levels of mask shortages, one of the most effective types of face masks for blocking airborne coronavirus particles has been reinvented – with a brilliant experimental tweak that could enable us to make more masks with less material, and maybe save more lives as a result.

The new prototype, designed by scientists at Harvard University and MIT, is a spin on the N95 mask used by frontline healthcare workers. N95 masks – a type of respirators that filters airborne particles – are tight-fitting, unlike loose-fitting surgical masks, and are made from polypropylene fibres that can filter out viral particles.

However, the majority of the mask is made from this polypropylene material, and since N95 masks are supposed to be discarded after each patient encounter or exposure to virus-laden aerosols, their innate disposability is a large part of the reason why N95 mask supply is seemingly under constant constraint in the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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