DOST – PTRI’s REwear Face Mask Adheres to WHO Guidelines
The DOST - Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST – PTRI) developed the REwear (Re-useable, Washable, Re-wearable) Face Masks brand of cloth masks as a quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now evident that the scientific perspective applied to the development of the REwear Face Mask has good basis as it is found to conform to the recommendations recently made by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In light of scientific evidence, the WHO finally endorsed the use of masks to the public as a part of prevention and control measures in this time of the COViD-19 pandemic. Prior to this, the organization had maintained that only people who are sick and those caring for them should wear medical masks. The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, on the other hand, in mid-April, took a proactive stance for the general public to use cloth face masks.
In a document entitled, “Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19: Interim guidance” on June 5, 2020, the WHO published an updated version of the document published on April 6, 2020. The former states the following information: a) latest facts on transmission from symptomatic, pre-symptomatic, and asymptomatic infected people; b) new recommendations for the health workers assigned in geographical areas with community transmission of COVID-19; c) revised directions and practical advice for decision-makers concerning the use of medical and non-medical masks by the general public through a risk-based approach; and d) new guidelines on non-medical mask features and characteristics.
The WHO provided guidelines and considerations in the making of a non-medical mask. This includes parameters like the type of material, breathability, number of layers, combinations of materials used, mask shape, and coating. Based on the recommendations for each parameter, the REwear face masks conform to the guidelines as will be noted in the table below which summarizes the WHO recommendations and how REwear Face Masks adhere to these requirements.
The REwear mask is made up of four (4) layers of cotton-rich fabrics. The innermost layer is absorbent (hydrophilic), the middle layer consists of two pieces of fabric for additional filtration capability while the outer layer is water-repellent (hydrophobic) to prevent the absorption of liquid droplets that may contain microbes and viruses. The outer layer is infused with DOST-PTRI’s textile treatment technology that renders a fabric resistant to a liquid without affecting its breathability. Additionally, the shape of the REwear mask is duckbill or curved.
Experts say that social distancing is insufficient to reduce the transmission of coronavirus. The WHO Interim guidance addresses it by providing direction to decision-makers and giving recommendations on the proper use of masks both in health care settings and the general community. However, using mask alone is not enough in providing an adequate level of protection to the people. Whether to use masks or not, everyone should abide by proper washing of hands, physical distancing, and other infection prevention and control (IPC) measures to avoid human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.
The REwear face mask technology adoption is open to textile processors and interested parties. Beyond the mask, REwear as a Safety Mark is offered to interested producers and suppliers of masks who wish to have their products tested for safety and performance required of a face mask.______________________________________________________________________