Ohio seeks authorization of mask sterilization technology

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Official Battelle website

Battelle employees build a Battelle CCDS Critical Care Decontamination System™

Abhi Siri, Guest Writer

On March 29, 2020, Gov. Mike DeWine made a direct appeal to the FDA for full authorization of Columbus-based Battelle’s new mask sterilization technology.

The governor said that the FDA had granted limited approval for the use of the decontamination system, but DeWine went on to say that limited approval wasn’t enough and full approval was needed ASAP.

DeWine opened the conference by stressing the need for N95 masks, stating that medical personnel was wearing masks for far longer than they should be, and that the shortage of masks is a real problem in Ohio and across the country.

The governor expressed his support for the company and their technology, describing Battelle as “the largest private, nonprofit, research and development organization in the world.”

Lt. Gov. John Husted noted that he and DeWine had been going back and forth with the FDA, trying to get approval for a week and that the conference was being held to notify the public about this delay and the technology.

DeWine also provided an update on COVID-19 cases in Ohio. He said there were 1,653 confirmed cases, 29 deaths, 403 hospitalizations, 139 people admitted into ICUs, 66 infected counties, an age range of 1 to 98 years old, and a total of 21,376 people tested.

The CEO of Battelle, Lewis von Thaer, described the decontamination process in detail, stressing the company’s commitment to bringing more systems online and the system’s modular nature, which makes it easy to deploy.

Battelle currently can decontaminate up to 80,000 masks a day, although the process takes several hours.

“It is going to help, and it has the ability to help here in Ohio and it has the ability to help across this country,” DeWine said

Battelle, which is based in Columbus, is the largest, private, non-profit research and development organization in the world. They started building systems to combat COVID-19 on March 19 and are able to now ship it anywhere in the United States.