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Are PPE Kits Still Needed to Stay Protected Against Covid-19?

Updated on September 12, 2020
Amalendu Nath profile image

Amalendu Nath is a seasoned author and officially representing Lithuanian Marketplace, a flagship service of Lithuanian Trade Council.

Introduction

The Covid-19 outbreak has increased demand for gloves, masks, and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE). Medical workers have been left vulnerable to infection due to the shortages and constant exposure to patients with the coronavirus leading to unnecessary deaths of healthcare workers and rising concerns for their safety. The World Health Organization estimates that industries need to increase production by 40 percent to meet growing demand.

Types of PPE Kits and Their Target Users

There are various types of personal protective equipment PPE kits available but their target users are different based on their exposure levels. Below is detailed description of each of them and their target users.

Gowns & Coveralls

These are protective clothing covering the body which offer protection by preventing direct contact with body fluids and infectious materials. Gowns are easier to put on and take off. They have openings usually on the back, making it easier to slip on and typically provide coverage to the mid-calf only. Patients and healthcare workers mainly use them. Coveralls provide full-body protection, usually covering the back and lower legs as well as the head and feet. They are used by healthcare workers in high-risk situations to prevent transmission.

Isolation Gowns and Coveralls for Healthcare Workers

Isolation Gowns and Coveralls for Healthcare Workers
Isolation Gowns and Coveralls for Healthcare Workers | Source

Gloves

They are used to prevent direct contact with surfaces and body fluids when interacting with a patient. Doctors and healthcare workers come in constant contact with suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients and need to touch them to diagnose and help them. This requires that they wear gloves at all times. Gloves are used in supermarkets by shoppers and their customers to avoid Coronavirus transmission through fluids left on shopping carts. Service providers like shopping attendants, bank tellers, and cashiers also wear gloves to lower the risk of transmission since they come in contact with many individuals in a day.

Face Masks

Face masks have been instrumental in curbing Coronavirus's spread by covering the mouth and nose. They are mainly used to prevent contamination of the surrounding area when a person coughs or sneezes. This helps to lower the risk of transmission when out in public. This become the norm worldwide as they are required to be worn when someone leaves the house. There are both reusable face masks and disposable masks available, depending on your preference. Both healthcare workers and every citizen are required to wear them to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Face Masks Essential for Everyone

Face Masks Essential for Everyone
Face Masks Essential for Everyone | Source

Full-Face Shields

Full-face shields are made from transparent plastic and cover the face when worn. They are used alongside face masks to increase safety against covid-19 virus transmission. Both healthcare workers use them and people when out in public, but these are also essential for those who interact or care for people who are hearing impaired.

Full Face Shields Useful for Healthcare Worker and Public Dealing Person

Full Face Shields Useful for Healthcare Worker and Public Dealing Person
Full Face Shields Useful for Healthcare Worker and Public Dealing Person | Source

Disposable Shoe Cover & Cap

These items are commonly used by healthcare workers to prevent carrying contaminants out of high-risk zones. These zones are mostly in hospitals where they are taking care of patients or working directly with the virus in labs through testing. These are removed and disposed of once they come out of high risk zones. These items ensure that there is no spread of Covid-19 through infectious materials on shoes or in the person's hair.

Do PPE Kits Protect A Person From Covid-19?

Medical professionals use personal protective equipment for Coronavirus mainly entails a gown, coverall, face-shields, goggles, gloves, N95 respirator, and a hair and shoe cover. Full-face shields and powered air-purifying respirators PAPR are used in some instances, depending on the severity of the cases.


Researchers discovered that Covid-19 is not transmitted through the air but rather through droplets or contact with contaminated surfaces. Airborne transmission refers to the capacity of a virus to be transmitted through tiny drops or particles that travel in air currents and can remain suspended in the air for extended periods. This means it could infect someone who is many metres away, which has been proven not to be the case with Covid-19.


Droplet transmission is a form of contraction where a virus can be transmitted from one person to another, through larger particles. When someone coughs, the particles emitted are larger and tend to fall due to gravity; therefore, they cannot remain suspended in the air. That is why it is recommended to maintain social distance by keeping a space between you and the person next to you of two metres because this is how far the particles can travel when someone coughs.


Covid-19 has been proven to be transmitted in short distances through droplets or contact with these droplets on surfaces. Keeping this in mind, health care workers and citizens must use PPE kits as it is the best defense against the virus.


The respiratory mask, goggles, and face shield help prevent against coming in contact with droplets when one coughs, and the gloves, gown, hair and shoe cover act as a barrier when coming in contact with the droplets on surfaces. Just as healthcare workers are in close contact with patients who test positive, you may unknowingly interact with someone who has Coronavirus. The best line of defense is wearing personal protective equipments to minimize the risk.

Development status of Coronavirus vaccine globally

Vaccine production is being tremendously cut short due to the pandemic as the world races to find a solution. There are more than 150 vaccines in development in the world from China to the United Kingdom to Russia to the United States. Around 15 are already at human trials.


Usually, research takes two to four years, but it's now being reduced to six months. Pre-clinical preparation involving animal testing primarily takes two years now; it's at six months and human trials from up to five years to one and a half years. Vaccine approval would typically take one year now authorities are reducing approval time to six months, and manufacturers are speeding up the process from two years to three to six months.


Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia approved the world’s first vaccine to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and days after the Russian Health Ministry said the vaccine would go into production soon, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that created the vaccine — Sputnik V — says it is the “safest” vaccine under trial at present. Hence, although its approved to combat covid-19 but currently not available in market even in Russia.


Recently, In USA, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is likely to come up with the vaccine by November 1st. The CDC has written to the Trump government and this was forwarded to all the states and its Governors in the US. However, this move by CDC comes in the wake of US Presidential elections. November 1st is the deadline set by CDC while the elections are scheduled on November 3rd. Political observers see this as a political stunt of the Trump government to win the trust of the people.


AstraZeneca, the British-Swedish biopharmaceutical giant, who has tie-up with the Oxford University to produce the covid-19 vaccine, paused Phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials after an unexplained illness in a participant in the study.


China currently leads the pack and has granted human trial for a covid-19 vaccine. They have gone through phase one and phase two clinical trials indicating it is safe and can induce an immune response. Phase three trials are currently underway. If successful, they will approved the vaccine and mass production will start soon.


Researchers are skeptical that it might only protect against disease but not stop an infection. This means that it may prevent an individual from the disease's effects, but they can still spread it as they are still infected. But it is still a big step forward and can be crucial for high-risk groups like the elderly and those with underlying diseases.

Upcoming Covid-19 Vaccine

Upcoming Covid-19 Vaccine
Upcoming Covid-19 Vaccine

Are PPE Kits Still Needed?

Currently, there is no vaccine approved and available in market or any significant development in the alleviation of the virus and its rate of infection. Researchers and doctors predict that having a vaccine accessible to everyone in the world will take time, probably a year. That means either 2021 or 2022; therefore, it is still essential to uphold safety measures against the spread of the virus.

Conclusion

Maintaining Social distancing, wearing suitable ppe kits, minimizing unnecessary movement, and avoiding social gatherings all play a role in keeping the virus at bay. It is highly recommended that the use of PPEs is continued as more infections are happening, and health care workers and citizens the world over need to protect themselves against transmitting the virus.

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