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ANSI COVID-19 News: Update to American National Standard for PPE, UNC-Chapel Hill Launches Largest Observational COVID Study, and More


The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health and safety and the nation's recovery. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to [email protected]. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

AAMI Releases Revised American National Standard for PPE Use in Health Care Facilities

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Protective Barriers (PB) Committee has revised an American National Standard (ANS) to offer guidance to health care professionals related to personal protective equipment (PPE) types and safety.

The ANS, ANSI/AAMI PB70:2022, Liquid barrier performance and classification of protective apparel and drapes intended for use in health care facilities, specifies requirements for the performance of surgical gowns, isolation gowns, other gowns and protective apparel, surgical drapes, and drape accessories designed to protect health care workers during surgery and other health care procedures. Updates to the standard include additional protective apparel categories and labeling for non-surgical gowns.

While PB70 is intended to be used primarily by device manufacturers in qualifying, classifying, and labeling the barrier performance of their products, AAMI notes that understanding the protective properties each label promises will also prove invaluable for healthcare professionals to make informed decisions when selecting appropriate PPE.

The standard does not cover PPE equipment such as medical gloves, surgical masks, or goggles, nor is there an industry consensus for best practices concerning the gown-to-glove interface.

“As there are many other protective apparel products used in healthcare settings which provide barrier protection, it was necessary to add other categories of products for which PB70 barrier level claims could be made,” the Committee wrote. “This will allow health care professionals to have a better understanding of the barrier protection properties of the protective apparel items available.”

Access AAMI’s news release and find out more about the PB Committee’s pandemic preparedness task group, which is working on relevant to PPE practices during a time of emergency.

UNC-Chapel Hill Launches COVID-19 Study to Examine How the Virus Behaves Differently Across Patient Populations

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has launched VISION, a study that will examine the different factors that impact individuals’ risks related to COVID-19 infections, including recovery from acute illness, symptom rebound, re-infection, and long COVID. The new study, funded by the North Carolina Collaboratory, is the largest COVID-19 observational study of its kind in North Carolina.

Researchers will recruit and follow 7,500 people in North Carolina who test positive for COVID-19 within a week. A subset of participants can volunteer to provide respiratory and blood samples, to help researchers assess changes in the level of SARS-CoV-2 and in immune system responses over time. Another subset of individuals who receive treatment with oral COVID-19 medications will be asked to provide nose swabs and blood and urine samples, as researchers look for host genetic changes over time.

“The VISION study will be important in understanding how the virus behaves differently in different patient populations,” said Dr. Billy Fischer, director of emerging pathogens at the UNC Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases and principal investigator of VISION. “It will also allow us to understand the immune response to the virus, especially as new variants emerge, and the influence of prior vaccination, prior infection, and therapeutics on the things that matter most—how people feel.”

Access more information via UNC-Chapel Hill news and see study details via the USNC School of Medicine website.

NFPA Webinar Highlights a Unique Fire Service Perspective on Long COVID

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has posted a new webinar, “Long-COVID in the Fire Service,” as part of its webinar series that explores fire and life safety research, innovations, and industry developments. The on-demand webinar addresses the immune response and long-term persistent systems related to COVID-19, as well as other challenges that individuals are facing within the fire service.

Long-COVID, a multisystem disease shown to be capable of developing regardless of initial disease severity, can have persistent symptoms or other new symptoms occurring after a period of 12 weeks.

Presenters include Denise Smith, Ph.D., professor of first responder health and safety laboratory at Skidmore College; Sara Jahnke, Ph.D., director and senior principal investigator of the Center for Fire, Rescue and EMS Health Research and the National Development and Research Institutes; and Katie Rusk, medical coordinator for San Diego Firefighter’s Regional Wellness Program.

Access the recent webinar broadcast via the NFPA webinar archives.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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