EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University has introduced a second decontamination process for personal protective equipment using vaporized hydrogen peroxide.
When combined with the heating process used by MSU Extension the university will be able to clean nearly 15,000 pieces of PPE each day.
“As demand continues to exceed supply for this essential protective equipment, MSU is working to develop solutions to help extend the life of these products typically used once,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “That means thinking outside the box, looking at how our resources can be utilized in other ways and being creative to solve a problem. Spartans don’t see limitations; we see possibilities.”
In partnership with Sparrow Health System and the Henry Ford Health System, the MSU Animal Care Program is using an available animal research facility to treat thousands of pieces of equipment at one time.
They expect to expand their efforts to take in equipment from local first responders, including the MSU Veterinary Medical Center, Lansing Fire Department and the Lansing Police Department.
The heating method can only be used to decontaminate N95 masks. the vaporized hydrogen peroxide process is safe to use on masks, goggles, gowns, face shields and other safety gear.
When operating at full capacity, MSU will have nine adjacent rooms using three robotic fogging machines to decontaminate about 6,700 items daily. The N95 masks can be reused up to 20 times using this method.
“By far, this is the one of the most invigorating projects I have been able involved with during my career – specifically, working with a multi-disciplinary team of faculty and local and statewide health partners to develop a solution that preserves and protects those on the front lines of this crisis,” Director of Campus Animal Resources and University Veterinarian F. Claire Hankenson said.
The decontamination cycle takes six hours. Once complete the equipment is packaged and picked up by the health care workers’ and first responders’ facilities.
The MSU VHP system is based on published research that Battelle performed for the FDA in 2015 and on their approved emergency use application parameters.
The university continues to work closely with the FDA in anticipation of receiving authorization for decontamination of personal protected equipment on campus.