Despite the shortage of protective supplies, medical personnel around the globe risk their own lives in order to save others amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Dubbed the "father of N95 mask", Taiwan-born scientist Peter Tsai has come out of retirement, working on finding ways to sterilize masks for reuse amid global shortage.
As an important protective device to combat the pandemic, the N95 face mask is no stranger to most Taiwanese people. But probably not too many know that Peter Tsai, the American inventor of the key technology behind the mask, was born in Taiwan, who has recently come out of retirement to study safe ways to sterilize the masks for reuse amid global shortages caused by the COVID-19.
I did not expect that this will happen, but this happened, so...
Tsai, now 68, laughed when talking about his unexpected delayed retirement. He worked as a research scholar at the University of Tennessee's in the U.S. where in 1992 he developed the electrostatic filtration charging technology used in nonwoven fabric, a key component of the N95 masks that filters most of the viruses and has benefited over 1 billion people. He retired last year but this COVID-19 pandemic has made him decide to go back to the research field upon seeing the supply strains of the N95 face mask in the U.S.
I just feel obligated to help the industries and to provide information to find a way to sterilize the masks.
Tsai is working strenuously on finding a way to safely sterilize the N95 masks.
After treatment of 70 degrees for 24 hours, then the efficiency only reduced by 0.5 percent so it is still 98.5 percent effective.
Tsai said that sterilizing the masks under high-temperatures to kill the virus might be a way for the masks to be reused and hopefully to ease up the shortage of N95 masks faced by the medical personnel.