FDA lifts restrictions on coronavirus mask sterilization tech after Trump touts company

Hospitals are desperate for personal protective equipment for their workers

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The Food and Drug Administration will allow an Ohio company to sterilize thousands more masks for health care workers than it initially approved after President Trump touted the technology on Sunday.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine criticized the FDA for issuing limited approval for the technology Saturday. But at a press conference Sunday, DeWine said the FDA's commissioner, Steve Hahn, told him "this would be cleared up today."

WHAT IS PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT?

"Thank you Dr. Hahn [and] the FDA for your fast approval of this respected Ohio company recommended by Governor Mike DeWine. Great potential!" Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday morning.

Battelle said it could decontaminate 80,000 N95 respirators per day with its Critical Care Decontamination System in West Jefferson, Ohio.

"I want to thank the FDA team for their professionalism and help in authorizing the use of our technology at this critical moment for our nation," Lou Von Thaer, president and CEO of Battelle, said in a statement. "Everybody who has worked on this project shares the same goal of protecting first responders and healthcare workers who are at the front lines of the pandemic."

Nurses leave Elmhurst Hospital Center where COVID-19 testing continues outside, March 27, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Battelle has previously said it is rapidly manufacturing more Critical Care Decontamination Systems to be deployed to needy hospitals across the country.

REUSING N95 MASKS IN CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC POSSIBLE WITH THIS TECHNOLOGY

Hospitals are desperate for personal protective equipment for their workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic response.

Emergency medical workers wear protective masks due to COVID-19 concerns while delivering a patient to the emergency room at Brooklyn Hospital Center, Sunday, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

COUNTIES WITHOUT VIRUS HAVE THIS IN COMMON

Battelle's method is the same as one confirmed last week by Duke Health, which found that N-95 masks can be safely reused after being decontaminated with vapor phase hydrogen peroxide.

Duke Health's process takes about four to five hours and involves hanging the masks in a room to be sprayed with the aerosol.

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"This is intended to conserve a critical resource, which is our people who support the entire health care process," Dr. Wayne Thomann of Duke University School of Medicine told FOX Business Thursday.

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