Coronavirus shortage: FDA approves process to decontaminate 4 million N95 masks per day

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) that has the potential to sterilize approximately 4 million N95 masks per day for the reuse by health care workers in the front lines of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Coronavirus California: 39 million N95 masks at center of fraud investigation

"Our nation's health care workers are among the many heroes of this pandemic and we need to do everything we can to increase the availability of the critical medical devices they need, like N95 respirators," said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. "FDA staff continue to work around the clock, across government and with the private sector to find solutions. This authorization will help provide access to millions of respirators so our health care workers on the front lines can be better protected and provide the best care to patients with COVID-19."

RELATED: How to donate medical supplies to hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area

The FDA granted Advanced Sterilization Products the EUA for the STERRAD Sterilization Cycles which uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization to decontaminate the respirators. There are approximately 6,300 hospitals across the U.S. with the STERRAD Cycles and each load takes from 24 to 55 minutes and can reprocess 480 per day, officials say.

For more information, see the FDA's website here.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.