Efficacy of FFP3 respirators for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection in healthcare workers

Ferris, M. et al. (2021) Efficacy of FFP3 respirators for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection in healthcare workers. eLife, 10, e71131. (doi: 10.7554/elife.71131) (PMID:34783656)

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Background: Respiratory protective equipment recommended in the UK for healthcare workers (HCWs) caring for patients with COVID-19 comprises a fluid-resistant surgical mask (FRSM), except in the context of aerosol generating procedures (AGPs). We previously demonstrated frequent pauci- and asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection HCWs during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, using a comprehensive PCR-based HCW screening programme (Rivett et al., 2020; Jones et al., 2020). Methods: Here, we use observational data and mathematical modelling to analyse infection rates amongst HCWs working on ‘red’ (coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19) and ‘green’ (non-COVID-19) wards during the second wave of the pandemic, before and after the substitution of filtering face piece 3 (FFP3) respirators for FRSMs. Results: Whilst using FRSMs, HCWs working on red wards faced an approximately 31-fold (and at least fivefold) increased risk of direct, ward-based infection. Conversely, after changing to FFP3 respirators, this risk was significantly reduced (52–100% protection). Conclusions: FFP3 respirators may therefore provide more effective protection than FRSMs for HCWs caring for patients with COVID-19, whether or not AGPs are undertaken. Funding: Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, NHS Blood and Transfusion, UKRI.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: Wellcome Trust (108070/Z/15/Z), Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust, Cambridge University Hospitals, NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Medical Research Council (MR/P008801/1), NHS Blood and Transfusion (WPA15-02), UK Research and Innovation (MR/V038613/1), Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00002/11), Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12014).
Keywords:Epidemiology and global health, microbiology and infectious disease, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, healthcare worker, PPE, mask, FFP3, viruses.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Illingworth, Dr Chris
Creator Roles:
Illingworth, C. J.R.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Software, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Ferris, M., Ferris, R., Workman, C., O'Connor, E., Enoch, D. A., Goldesgeyme, E., Quinnell, N., Patel, P., Wright, J., Martell, G., Moody, C., Shaw, A., Illingworth, C. J.R., Matheson, N. J., and Weekes, M. P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity > Centre for Virus Research
Journal Name:eLife
Publisher:eLife Sciences Publications
ISSN (Online):2050-084X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Ferris et al.
First Published:First published in eLife 10: e71131
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
315250MRC PE seed funding - John McLauchlanJohn McLauchlanMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12014III - Centre for Virus Research