• Personal protective equipment in the siege of respiratory viral pandemics: strides made and next steps

      Eke, U.A.; Eke, A.C. (Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2020-12-24)
      Introduction: In December 2019, SARS-CoV-2 originated from China, and spread rapidly to several countries, bringing a frightening scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE). The CDC recommends N95 or higher-level particulate filtering respirators as part of the PPE while caring for patients with COVID-19, with facemasks as an alternative; and cloth face-coverings in public where social distancing of at least 6 ft. is not feasible. With new evidence about the efficacy of facemasks, knowledge gaps remain. Areas covered: This reviews the history of respiratory viral pandemics and PPE use, exploring the influenza pandemics of the 20th and 21st century, and prior coronavirus pandemics. A literature search of PubMed and google was done between March 22nd to May 2nd, and on September 28, 2020. The evidence for PPE is described, to delineate their efficacy and 'best safe' practices. Solutions to ameliorate pandemic preparedness to meet surge-capacity to efficiently combat future pandemics, should they arise, are discussed. Expert opinion: PPE, when used appropriately in addition to other infection control measures, is effective protection during respiratory viral pandemics. The current evidence suggests that wearing facemasks in the community is protective, especially if used consistently and correctly with other infection control measures such as hand hygiene. Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.