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The face mask that could end the pandemic

By Keri Enriquez

Updated 10:24 AM ET, Sat January 23, 2021

 (CNN)Getting Americans masked up is a top priority for the Biden administration.

Biden, who calls wearing masks “a patriotic act,” signed an executive order Wednesday — his very first as President — to ask Americans to wear masks of their choice for the first 100 days of the new administration. The executive order also requires mask use on all federal property, though in this case, not just any old mask will do.

On Wednesday, after the inauguration, White House press secretary Jen Psaki showed off her bright white N95 mask in the press briefing room. “I wore it out, of course, here today and will continue to do that,” Psaki said after removing her medical-grade mask and before turning to questions.

CDC reports record number of daily Covid-19 vaccinations as states struggle with supply

N95 masks are considered the gold standard in personal protective equipment because they block 95% of large and small particles utilizing a unique electrostatic filter.

The filter works by trapping neutral particles like bacteria and viruses before they pass through the mask, protecting the wearer and those around them. It’s similar to how socks might get stuck to a blanket in the dryer. The N95 mask, which costs roughly $5, also fits securely to the face, eliminating most of the leakage that may occur with a loose-fitting cloth or paper mask.

Studies have shown that masks significantly decrease the chances of transmitting or contracting the coronavirus. But not all masks provide equal protection. Depending on the fabric and number of layers, homemade and simple cloth masks have a range of effectiveness that can be as low as 26%, which leaves the wearer vulnerable.

Some experts like Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School physician Dr. Abraar Karan have been advocating for public use of N95 masks from the start of the pandemic. In an interview with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Karan outlined why N95s are critical at this stage of the pandemic.

“If for four weeks the country essentially wore these masks in those risky settings like that indoors, what kind of difference do you think it would make?” Gupta asked.

“This would stop the epidemic,” Karan responded.

Dr. Gupta on Covid-19: This is the worst it’s ever been 05:46

The quality of protection a face mask can provide is crucial. A respiratory illness like the coronavirus is transmitted through aerosols, tiny particles that waft and hang in the air. Some virus-carrying particles are small enough to travel through or around lower-quality masks, making the wearer vulnerable to inhalation of viral particles.

“We know now that aerosols spread best when there is poor ventilation, crowding and close contact that’s prolonged,” Karan told Gupta in an interview. “So we were arguing that actually in those settings, cloth masks alone are not going to block aerosols.”

Karan is not the only expert who has been vocal in support of better quality masks for the general public. Former US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that “encouraging Americans to wear higher-quality masks is a simple step that might make a difference.”

The biggest problem is lack of supply. This week marked a full year of the coronavirus, and the Biden administration has committed to invoking the Defense Production Act more often to boost manufacture of N95 masks and other critical supplies. Experts hope manufacturing will hit a speed to be able to sufficiently supply the population.

“An N95 that’s well-fitted clearly is the best that you can do,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Friday. “You could get production of that at a much higher rate now.”

Karan believes N95 masks could be an essential asset in reopening the economy as the vaccine rollout remains sluggish and quarantine fatigue soars.

The huge stakes of Biden’s new Covid-19 plan

“If we have better personal protection for people, they can more safely go back to work. They can more safely re-engage, especially if testing and tracing is not where we need it to be,” Karan said.

“This was going to be one way to get people back in and get the economy back up.”

Some European countries are already taking that step to prevent coronavirus spread within their borders. Earlier this week, Germany and France mandated that all citizens wear high filtration masks like the N95 in all public places.

After months of treating coronavirus patients, Karan says it’s time to invest in making sure masks people wear are even more effective. “Focus on getting better masks to as many people as possible, focus on the messaging around masks, be consistent with your messaging, make masks part of American culture to stop the epidemic.”

The key here is to always wear a mask whenever you’re in public. One study in Lancet Digital Health found that a 10% increase in mask-wearing could lead to a three-fold increase in the odds of maintaining control over virus transmission in a community. The ability to control the spread of the coronavirus is in our hands — and on our faces.

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Novaerus Defend 1050 air purifier approved by FDA as 510(k) Class II Medical Device

Novaerus Defend 1050 cleared by FDA as 510(k) Class II Medical Device to inactivate and filter out airborne virus and bacteria for medical purposes

Defend 1050 uses patented NanoStrike® technology to damage and inactivate airborne micro-organisms.

Dublin, Ireland and Stamford, CT – Novaerus, a WellAir company that delivers clean air solutions to help prevent the spread of infectious outbreaks, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the Novaerus Defend 1050 (NV 1050) as a 510(k) Class II Medical Device to inactivate and filter out micro-organisms, including virus and bacteria, for medical purposes. The Novaerus Defend 1050 is the first system that uses NanoStrike®, a patented plasma generating technology, to receive FDA 510(k) clearance.

The Novaerus Defend 1050 is a free-standing, portable recirculating air cleaning system designed for additional frontline protection in healthcare settings such as operating rooms, intensive care units, in vitro fertilization labs, emergency rooms, waiting and treatment areas, neonatal units, and other critical environments including those performing aerosol-generating medical procedures (AGMP).

The Defend 1050’s NanoStrike technology uses a plasma field that rapidly inactivates micro-organisms at the molecular level. Within 15 minutes, the Defend 1050 has demonstrated a 4-log (99.99%) reduction of the MS2 bacteriophage RNA virus, an accepted surrogate for SARS-CoV-2. The Defend 1050 also showed a 4-log (99.99%) reduction in Bacillus Globigii endospores (bacterial spores) within 15 minutes, which was maintained over the prolonged operation (24 hours).

The Defend 1050 is currently used in hospitals and healthcare settings worldwide. Given the rapid spread of COVID-19, WellAir moved quickly to understand how this device could potentially combat the virus while moving it through a thorough FDA medical device clearance process. Additionally, the Defend 1050 meets relevant performance criteria in the FDA Guidance, which provides non-binding recommendations that may reduce the risk of viral exposure for patients and healthcare providers during the current public health emergency.

“Our team of outstanding engineers and scientists have been focused on delivering innovative and powerful airborne infection control devices. The FDA clearance on the Defend 1050 is a critical milestone for our company, validating our work to deliver a safe and effective medical device,” said Dr Kevin Devlin, WellAir CEO. “The Defend 1050 has demonstrated tremendous efficacy in third party testing against viruses, bacteria, VOCs, and particulate matter, which makes it an ideal solution for hospitals and healthcare settings. As we continue to see an alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, we have moved quickly to make the device readily available.”

Defend 1050 utilizes multiple stages to reduce airborne micro-organisms. The first stage is a general air pre-filter that captures particles between 4 and 10 microns from the input airflow. This filtered air passes through a series of NanoStrike coils (plasma generators) that damage and inactivate micro-organisms on contact, including viruses and bacteria. The resulting inactive particulates are trapped by a HEPA (High-efficiency Particulate Air) filter. In a final cleaning stage, an activated carbon filter traps VOCs in the airstream before the air is released into the environment.

The Defend 1050 system is delivered complete with all components necessary for immediate use. It can be wheeled easily by a single person to the desired point of use and plugs into standard outlets. Five airflow speed settings enable optimization to each healthcare environment. The only routine maintenance required is a calendar-based filter change schedule.

If you are a medical or healthcare facility interested in learning more about the Novaerus Defend 1050 or other Novaerus products, additional information can be found here, or please contact us

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Xavant Technology Announces First Dual-Sensor Neuromuscular Patient Monitor

The Stimpod NMS450X NMT monitor for Anesthesia first to feature both AMG and EMG modalities in one single, portable patient monitoring system.  

Pretoria, South Africa, October. 15, 2019 – Xavant Technology, a pioneer in neuromuscular monitoring and innovative neuromodulation modalities, announced an addition to the company’s newest generation of Stimpod neuromuscular transmission monitor – the capability of utilizing either of the two most industry prominent types of monitoring sensors, AMG and EMG. The new Stimpod system and EMG sensor accessory will be exhibited at the American Society of Anesthesia (ASA) Annual Meeting, October 19-21 in Orlando, Florida alongside the company’s entire Stimpod portfolio for anesthesia.

“We are excited to announce the EMG modality to our Stimpod line of monitors,” stated Corlius Birkill, CEO of Xavant Technology. “By offering, for the first time, anesthesiologists and clinicians a choice in using either AMG or EMG, we can give them unparalleled clinical and budgetary benefits.” Mr. Birkill continued, “We believe quantitative or objective monitoring of patients who are undergoing neuromuscular block for surgery should be the standard of care. Our goal is to provide physicians with the most optimal and efficient tools to achieve that standard.”

The latest update to the AMG-based Stimpod NMS450X monitor series will enable the use for the first time ever, a dual sensor objective neuromuscular transmission monitor that enables anesthesiologists the choice of using either acceleromyography (AMG) with a reusable sensor or electromyography (EMG) with a disposable sensor to manage patients undergoing neuromuscular block during surgery or while being cared for in the intensive care unit.

By adding an EMG sensor accessory to the Stimpod, clinician opportunities in monitoring will be maximized. Being able to choose either AMG or EMG at site of service, hospitals can perform cost-effective entire-surgery monitoring with the platform that is optimal for that specific case. While AMG is a proven, accurate and cost-effective technology, the EMG sensor will simplify how clinicians monitor patients in more restrictive surgical cases, such as robotic surgery where restricting the hands is common. The EMG accessory is pending FDA clearance.

“The Stimpod NMT monitor is simple and economical way for hospitals to drive patient safety, Operating room, PACU, and ICU efficiency, and manage their very expensive paralytic and recovery drug budgets,” stated Xavant Chairman Roche van Rensburg. “We believe the data is fairly conclusive that hospitals can enhance safety outcomes related to residual neuromuscular block by utilizing objective NMT monitoring. But also important is the power to more effectively manage the time and cost-of-care efficacy for the hospital – we believe the Stimpod system can make a tremendous positive difference on both fronts,” added Mr. van Rensburg.

About Xavant Technology

By Xavant Technology October 17, 2019