“Are Surgical and Cotton Masks Effective in Preventing the Spread of SARS-CoV-2?”

A research letter published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that reusable cotton and disposable surgical masks may not be effective in preventing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine examined the effectiveness of cotton and surgical masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Four COVID-19 patients from South Korea were asked to cough into a petri dish while wearing reusable cotton and disposable surgical masks.

The specimens from the inner and outer surfaces of the masks were collected via an aseptic swab to determine the median viral load of the nasopharyngeal sample.

The findings reveal that the median viral load of patients was 1.85 log copies/mL with a cotton mask, 2.42 log copies/mL with a surgical mask and 2.56 log copies/mL without a mask.

A co-author of this study said that more studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of cotton and surgical masks in preventing the spread of the virus when used in routine activities such as talking.

He also said that the N95 respirator masks or their equivalent may have the strongest protective effect against SARS-Cov-2.

 3 KEY POINTS

  1. A recent study found that reusable cotton and disposable surgical masks may not be effective in preventing the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 which causes COVID-19.
  2. The results reveal that most of the swabs from the inner surfaces of the masks were negative for SARS-Cov-2 while the swabs from the outer surfaces were positive for the virus.
  3. Masks with high filtration efficiencies like the N95 respirators masks may offer the best protection against the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

 “We are not sure as to whether the masks shortened the distance of viral particle transmission,” says Sung-Han Kim, co-author of the study and Asan Medical Center’s chief of the office for infection control.

Article source: https://www.healio.com/primary-care/practice-management/news/online/%7B10c2a1dc-3f55-401d-bf11-5246153357ff%7D/small-study-questions-efficacy-of-cotton-surgical-masks-at-stopping-spread-of-sars-cov-2

#ClinicalResearch, #SARS-CoV-2, #COVID-19, #SurgicalMasks, #CottonMasks

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