ter the potential for filtration. At the same time, as the tightness of the structure increases, breathing resistance increases, thereby affecting the user’s comfort while using the device. This may affect usage. The level of protection offered also may be contingent on the tightness of the fit of the device to the wearer’s face.
The committee was hampered in its work by the lack of reliable data in many areas of concern, in particular the routes and modes of influenza transmission. Consistent with its broader charge, the committee makes recommendations to DHHS on a research agenda ranging from the most fundamental aspects of infectious disease to more focused research opportunities in two major areas: (1) studies related to the epidemiological aspects of novel influenza viruses and (2) the design and development of reusable respirators and medical masks.
Recommendation 2: Determine Routes and Risks.
DHHS should expand pandemic influenza research to characterize and determine the routes of transmission and risks of disease associated with different levels and types of exposure.
Characterizing and determining the relative importance of different routes of influenza transmission (e.g., droplet, contact, aerosol) will allow for the design of more effective nonpharmacological interventions and personal protective equipment.
Recommendation 3: Short-Term Research Opportunities.
a. In the areas of design, materials, and processing technology, DHHS should sponsor and/or conduct research that will lead to understanding the efficacy of simple decontamination techniques (e.g., bleach, microwave radiation, or ultraviolet light) that could routinely be employed without having negative effects on respirator integrity.
Such factors as effectiveness of decontamination, impact on the reusability of the decontaminated device (e.g., filter efficiency, fit), processing cost, and ease of implementation (both in a large-scale setting and at home), including those related to environmental impact, should be considered in the research. These efforts could quickly lead to the identification of an