AIIMS issues guidelines on how to reuse PPE amid falling medical stocks

Topics Coronavirus | AIIMS | Lockdown

The All Indian Institue of Medical Science (AIIMS) on Wednesday issued new guidelines on reusing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, reacting after a shortage of safety gear.

The Delhi institution stressed that the methods for disinfection should only be considered as extraordinary last-resort methods in the event of an imminent shortage of such kits.

According to the AIIMS guidelines, the decontamination of PPE kits for the purpose of reuse is currently not recommended, primarily because of concerns that it would degrade the performance, especially of the respirator, PTI reported. But then, decontamination and reuse of PPE kits may provide another solution by extending the existing on-hand supplies, the guidelines say.

Stating that the outbreak has put immense pressure on medical stock, AIIMS said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has strained our resources tremendously in the healthcare setting. One of the most urgent issues is the fast depletion of personal protective equipment (PPE) used in the care of patients. This is a significant concern for healthcare workers' health and safety." 

According to the AIIMS guidelines, coveralls and N95 masks can be decontaminated using doubling dilution of 11 per cent hydrogen peroxide vapour in a sealed room while face shields and goggles can be decontaminated using 0.5 per cent sodium hypochlorite solution and 70 per cent alcohol.

Healthcare workers across the country have highlighted the paucity of PPE, including coveralls, goggles, masks, gloves and shoe covers among others. The government has been roping in private firms to manufacture masks and PPE kits for healthcare workers. It is to be noted that the Gujarat government has roped in state-based private companies to manufacture personal protective equipment and N95 masks. Both the PPE and N95 masks are very useful in protecting the medical staff who are on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus, the official said.

The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 164 and the number of cases crossed to 5,000 in the country on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.

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