Irvine-based Advanced Sterilization Products received Food and Drug Administration approval on a process to decontaminate the N95 face masks now in wider use as part of the coronavirus pandemic.
A shortage of medical-grade personal protective equipment has prompted healthcare workers to in some cases don plastic garbage bags for gowns and scarves for masks, and to rely on public goodwill to procure more.
The newly approved process converts vaporized hydrogen peroxide gas into a plasma to clean the masks. ASP said it has about 6,300 machines in use nationwide, which in total can sterilize between 3 and 4 million masks a day.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement the agency needs to “the availability of … critical medical devices.”
Its approval of the Advanced Sterilization Products’ machine follows that of a decontamination process by a similar machine with a smaller daily capacity.