Neuruppin, 15 February 2021
To date no randomised controlled studies have been conducted into the effectiveness of protective masks covering mouth and nose. Prof. Dr. med. Frank Hufert (professor of virology and medical director of the Institute of Microbiology and Virology / Brandenburg Medical School MHB) has now published a review of 29 studies in collaboration with PD Dr. med. Christoph J. Hemmer, Prof. Dr. Emil Reisiger and Dr.-Ing. Stefan Siewert. These studies address infections with SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. The review confirms that facemasks of the type N95 (approximately equivalent to FFP2), surgical masks and similar multilayer cotton masks considerably reduce the risk of an infection with COVID.
Prof. Frank Hufert sums up: “Findings from pilot trials and case reports clearly indicate that facemasks significantly reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of becoming infected with Corona. Masks offer protection, not only to other persons as assumed so far, but also to the mask wearers themselves. Masks prevent the transmission of infections via the respiratory tract and reduce the intake of potentially infectious droplets so that the course of infections and subsequent illness that may occur nevertheless is milder. Based on our analysis of available studies it may be reasonably assumed that facemasks can significantly contribute to reducing the spreading of SARS- CoV-2. Where infection cannot be prevented, the reduction of infectious doses will probably prevent symptomatic illness and the severity of the illness more frequently. All physicians, politicians and members of the health care system should live up to their responsibility and underline the significance and protective effects of facemasks on all occasions. Any remaining doubts about the usefulness of mouth-nose covers can now be eliminated,” so Prof. Hufert.
Starting early in 2020, SARS-CoV-2 has been spreading almost worldwide. The pathogen is transmitted via the respiratory tract and causes death primarily among older and vulnerable people. Prophylactic vaccination has become available only recently; it is, however, unclear whether and when so called “herd” immunity can be achieved. A frequently raised question is that for evidence of the protective effect of facemasks. Last October, for example, Dr. Klaus Reinhard who chairs the German Medical Association claimed on TV that there is no scientific evidence of the effectiveness of mouth-nose covers – a statement much criticised by virologists, physicians and medical associations and organisations.
For detailed results of the study published in Deutsches Ärzteblatt see here.