New program allows U of L to decontaminate N95 masks

A new program at the University of Louisville is aimed at alleviating the N95 respirator shortage amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through its N95 Decontamination Program, U of L will decontaminate and sterilize used respirators through a Centers for Disease Control-approved and Food and Drug Administration-authorized process using vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP).

U of L is providing this service at no cost to participating organizations for use by healthcare providers, first responders and community organizations such as nursing homes.

The VHP decontamination process used by UofL was originally developed after the 2014 Ebola crisis to conserve PPE in the event of a pandemic-related shortage. This process is currently being used at other institutions, including Duke University in North Carolina, and each respirator can be decontaminated up to 20 times.

In Louisville, the effort will be performed on the UofL Health Sciences Center campus. UofL’s Research Resources Facilities and the Office of Research Services is providing the VHP generator, facilities and equipment and will have capacity to decontaminate approximately 7,000 respirators per day.


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