World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned that COVID-19 was a “very high” risk of pandemic to be taken seriously. In order to avoid misappropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during this battle, it is time to take a good look at EN 14126:2003, which is the standard specifies a set of requirements and test methods to measure the fabric protection against infective agents.
EN 14126:2003 includes 5 test methods to determine the protection class against several specific biological hazards listed as the following:
|Test Method||Test Description||Contaminant Used|
|ISO 16603||Resistance to penetration by blood/body fluids||Synthetic blood|
|ISO 16604||Resistance to penetration by blood-borne pathogens||Bacteriophage
|ISO 22610||Resistance to wet microbial penetration||Biologically contaminated liquids
|ISO/DIS 22611||Resistance to liquid aerosol penetration||Biologically contaminated liquid aerosols
|ISO 22612||Resistance to dry microbial penetration||Biologically contaminated solid particles
COVID-19 belongs to the Coronaviruses family, with size of approximately 0.125 microns. From the above contaminants, Phi-X-174 (0.027 microns) is the only contaminant which smaller than COVID-19. Hence, if the protective clothing passes ISO 16604 with a relatively high protection class, it means that it has a higher protection level.
If you are frontline medical personnel, you might focus on ISO/DIS 22611. Earlier in February, China admitted that aerosol transmission is possible. It could happen when the patient sneezes hard or when you are exposed to high aerosol concentrations in an enclosed environment for a long time, such as inserting respiratory tube during medical procedures, which causes a burst of mass aerosols.
In a conclusion, during the selection of protective clothing against COVID-19, you can first identify EN 14126:2003 certification via wording “-B” behind “TYPE” classification, namely “TYPE 3-B”, “TYPE 4-B” and “TYPE 5-B” in ULTITEC product series. Once identified the protection capability against infective agents, do take a closer look at respective test results according to your job specification in particular working environment.