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Research: review of personal protective equipment provided in health care settings to manage risk during the coronavirus outbreak


Experts from HSE and PHE have carried out a rapid review of the evidence supporting the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare and in the context of COVID-19.

This work was delivered by HSE for the Government Chief Scientific Adviser. It’s in two parts:

The UK recommends the use of FFP3 respirators when caring for patients in areas where high risk aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) are being performed. When FFP3 respirators are not available, then FFP2 respirators may be used.

The World Health Organisation(WHO) recommends FFP2 and N95 respirators for AGPs and these are widely used in other countries. The N95 respirator is not CE marked but has been tested against standards similar to European standards.

To optimise the choice of respirators available a group of experts were convened from PHE and HSE to carry out a rapid review of the evidence supporting the use of N95 in the context of COVID-19.

Review findings

The conclusions drawn from the review are based on the limited studies available, particularly in the area of qualitative research.

The key findings (for use in healthcare settings only) are:

These conclusions were supported by international experts.

Further information


The authors of the research would like to acknowledge the contribution of: