N95 respirators are considered as one of the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) which aids in providing protection to the wearer from airborne particles and liquid or infectious droplets from contaminating the face. The N95 respirators are regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA. Following is the breakdown of the N95 mask:
The prevalence of respiratory diseases is further augmenting the market demand at the global level
The prevalence of acute respiratory infections is projected to propagate the global N95 mask market growth. This is due to the fact that these provide protection against infections due to droplets. The occurrence of epidemic and pandemic situations is further propelling the market demand at present and in the future, especially for the healthcare workers who are in close contact with the affected patients. The current COVID-19 outbreak has surged the demand for N95 face masks in 2020, however, excessive utilization has resulted in the shortage of supplies as well.
Apart from handwashing, as in the current COVID scenario, these face masks hold importance as an effective tool in curbing infectious diseases. Companies provide a range of masks to prevent the spread of respiratory infections which are quite prevalent worldwide. In the case of proper utilization, face masks prevent the further transmission of disease particles.
However, in the case of an epidemic or a pandemic situation, it has been noticed that outside a hospital environment, the effectiveness of face masks in preventing the spread of airborne or droplet infectious diseases in a general population is highly diminished. This is due to the improper utilization and lack of user compliance. One of the examples includes, an Australian study showed that the willingness to use face masks was the lowest for handling influenza pandemic. Another Australian study concluded that adherence to wearing face masks reduced risks for influenza-like infections and it was found that less than 50% of the study participants wore face masks regularly (source: National Institutes of Health, 2014). Hence, infection prevention face masks like N95 masks are useful in the infection transmission among individuals and contribute to a low infection rate.
The use of a medical mask is recommended for healthcare workers who are in direct contact with patients, especially diagnosed with infectious diseases. Hence, the utilization of medical masks as routine practice by the healthcare workers and healthcare professionals in a clinical setting to prevent infections is projected to fuel market growth.
Furthermore, with growing concerns regarding prevention against infectious diseases, the N95 mask market is projected to proliferate in the current and in the future.
Moreover, strict guidelines laid by big healthcare organizations such as the World Health Organization for the utilization of personal protective equipment is also propelling the market demand. Also, with the outbreak of new coronavirus infection, WHO recommends the rational use of PPE which includes medical masks as well by the healthcare workers. At present, the organization stresses the use of medical masks for healthcare workers on a priority basis due to the medical mask shortage owing to the pandemic exigency. All the healthcare workers are recommended to wear medical masks when entering a room where patients suspected or confirmed with COVID-19 infection are hospitalized.
Expedited production of N95 masks due to the novel coronavirus pandemic scenario is burgeoning the market growth
The United States Department of Defense, DoD in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services in May 2020 announced the signing of a deal of USD126 million contract award with the 3M company for the enhanced production of the 26 million N95 medical-grade masks every month, from October 2020. It is further predicted that the increased production of these masks which is led by the Department’s Joint Acquisition Task Force, JATF, and funded by the CARES Act will contribute to continuing in ensuring a sustainable supply chain of N95 masks in addition to resupplying of the Strategic National Stockpile in response to the accelerated national demand as a result of new coronavirus pandemic. The DoD remains in close partnership with FEMA and HHS and is offering around USD800 million in lifesaving supplies and equipment to the service members and government organizations in the country’s whole-of-government approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 3M company is poised to design, procure, and implement the essential production facilities and equipment for increasing the existing delivery schedule in addition to expediting the N95 respirator production by over 300 million per year within the next twelve months. In response to meeting the enhanced production capacity, the company has planned to expand its facility in Aberdeen S.D. and will also start the initial production in Wisconsin. The company has already placed orders for raw materials and two new manufacturing units. Such efforts by companies manufacturing N95 respirators on a large scale would strengthen the market growth in the healthcare sector along with the generation of high revenues.
In the United States, as per CDC data, the total cumulative hospitalization rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic since 1st March 2020 is 67.9 per 100,000, the hospitalization rates are updated on a weekly basis. On 22nd May 2020, the highest rate of hospitalization was reported to be 214.4 per 100,000 individuals among the individuals aged 65 years and above, and among the age group between 50-64 years, the hospitalization rate recorded was 105.9 per 100,000 individuals.