Under the current circumstances face masks are worth their weight in gold particularly to those medical professionals who are on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19. In the light of the great current demands for such sophisticated masks a Maltese engineer from the University’s Engineering Faculty has developed an apparatus to disinfect masks and enable their reuse.
Throughout the history of humanity precarious situations have often led to entrepreneurs, researchers and companies to develop new products to cater for the circumstances. This week at Malta University, engineer Dr Marc Anthony Azzopardi has constructed an apparatus that is capable of disinfecting masks used by hospital professionals who are on the frontline of the effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. The Mater Dei Hospital administrators immediately expressed their interest in the project.
An appointment has been made for tomorrow and the hospital authorities will inspect the apparatus to see how it can be adapted while expressing their views of how it can be adapted to needs. There is optimism the apparatus may be produced in quantities.
Engineer Azzopardi explained that masks used in hospitals cannot be disinfected by being plunged in alcohol or bleach because this renders them useless.
He said the masks in question are of types N95’s, N100’s, FP2 and FP3. They are mainly sophisticated masks with technology that enables the total covering of the face and have a high level of protection.
Dr Azzopardi explained to Television Malta that his invention may enable the disinfection of nine masks at one go so as to enable their reuse rather than their disposal and simultaneously disables them from being a source of infection.
He said the method is that UV rays are used to kill off the virus in a few minutes. The method is based on years of research worldwide to meet such a situation. There has already been a forerunner when SARS occurred and researchers forecast that a similar pandemic may reoccur.
Engineer Azzopardi said he began his researches in January because he immediately discerned there would eventually be a shortage of masks.