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Sunnybrook scientists are developing N95 mask alternatives for hospital use

Each and every day, Sunnybrook staff show up for work ready to care for patients when it matters most. With N95 masks in short supply, the pandemic has underscored the need for innovative solutions to keep front-line staff safe. Thanks to your support Sunnybrook is testing and developing personal protective equipment (PPE) options that can be implemented immediately, should the need arise.

Snorkel mask N95 alternative

Thanks to the support of donors, Sunnybrook scientists have designed an alternative form of personal protective equipment using a modified full-face snorkel mask.

As an N95 alternative, a full-face snorkel mask provides shielded protection of the eyes, nose and mouth from the surrounding environment. Using 3D printing techniques, the stem snorkel at the top of the mask is replaced by an adapter that fits widely available ventilator cartridges to filter particles in the same manner as N95 masks.

Learn more about this innovative N95 alternative. 

Learn more about SERV trial

Reprocessing used N95 masks

Thanks to a specialized UV sterilizer funded by generous donor support to Sunnybrook’s COVID-19 response, we are inventing a new system to safely repurpose used N95 masks, should the need arise. N95 masks will be sterilized in our Medical Devices Reprocessing Centre, where equipment, such as surgical instruments, is reprocessed every day.

Watch the process and learn more about why we’ve taken this step.

Brenda Mayers

Critical Care Nurse Brenda Mayers holds a photo taken in our Critical Care Unit around the time of the 2003 Toronto SARS outbreak. She remembers it as a frightening and difficult time, but she says that teamwork was key to getting through it together. Seventeen years later she is working in the same unit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

See more images from the front line of the pandemic.