COLUMBUS, Ohio (August 28, 2020)—Vaporized hydrogen peroxide treatment modified by a Michigan State University veterinary team to decontaminate N95 masks for health care workers has been approved on an emergency basis by the Food and Drug Administration. The team is continuing to work with the FDA towards a September start of large-scale decontamination operations. MSU is the first and only public institution to receive this authorization to date.
When Columbus-based Battelle Memorial Institute received emergency use authorization for its VHP process in March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., tasked an effort that included the conversion of an animal housing area into a nine-room decontamination center now capable of cleansing tens of thousands of masks each week.
University Veterinarian F. Claire Hankenson, Director of Campus Animal Resources, is leading the project along with the MSU Office of Regulatory Affairs.
VHP was already in use at MSU sanitizing animal areas when the COVID-19 pandemic sparked widespread shortages of personal protective equipment for physicians, nurses and other medical personnel.
“We estimate that within our dedicated facility, running the VHP cycles five days a week, we can effectively decontaminate and redistribute approximately 14,000 masks per day (7,000 masks per cycle and two cycles per day) and up to 70,000 masks per week,” Hankenson said. “Over the coming fall and early winter, with a potential second surge of COVID-19 cases in the state (which may converge with influenza season), the MSU VHP decontamination process could ultimately recycle more than one million PPE devices back into the supply for the state of Michigan.”
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