Methylene Blue and Light Inactivates SARS-CoV-2 on N95 Respirators

PPEs are necessary to protect frontline healthcare personnel while treating COVID-19. The shortages highlight the urgent need for simple, efficient, and inexpensive ways to decontaminate them and enable safe re-use. Photochemical disinfection uses a photosensitive drug or a photosensitizer.It is usually combined with visible light to produce singlet oxygen from ambient molecular oxygen in the air. The singlet oxygen inactivates viruses by damaging viral nucleic acids and membranes. Methylene blue acts as a photosensitizer here. The researchers tested N95 respirators, medical masks, and cloth community masks.

The materials were inoculated with SARS-CoV-2, porcine respiratory coronavirus, and murine hepatitis virus. The materials were then treated with 10 µM of methylene blue followed by  50,000 lux of broad-spectrum light or 12,500 lux of red light for 30 minutes or with 75 degC DH for 60 minutes. The masks were also tested for mask integrity through several standard methods. The findings revealed that this method inactivated all three coronaviruses with at least a 4-log reduction. This method also did not cause any changes in the breathability filtration, and fluid resistance properties of the materials tested.

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