Battelle has been awarded a potential $400M contract by the Defense Logistics Agency on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to decontaminate N95 respirator masks to be deployed across 60 sites, the company announced on Friday.
“The contract awarded to Battelle will allow us to staff additional systems to provide a continuous buffer against current and future N95 supply chain challenges. Battelle is thankful for the federal government's support, including the teams at FEMA, DLA, and HHS,“ said Matt Vaughan, Battelle's Contract Research President.
Battelle will provide decontamination services for N95 respirator masks and will be offered at no charge to healthcare providers to protect the workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company will utilize the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System (CCDS), which uses concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide (VPHP) and works by exposing used respirator masks to the validated concentration level for 2.5 hours to decontaminate biological contaminants, including SARS-CoV-2 which causes the COVID-19 illness.
The contract will fund Battelle's associated costs of staffing and training system operators who will be deployed across the country to help process previously worn respirator masks. N95 respirator masks are in high demand with low availability.
Battelle's CCDS is designed to bridge that gap until the supply chain for new masks can meet demand. The system will operate in Central Ohio, Long Island, NY and Washington state. Additional systems are scheduled for operation in Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, and the National Capital Region.
“The federal funding results in decontamination services at no charge to hospitals and helps protect front line healthcare professionals across the country. I will continue to do anything I can to ensure our healthcare heroes have what they need to stay safe while performing their critical work,“ said U.S. Senator Rob Portman.
In addition, Battelle has started recruiting technicians to be trained and operate the systems as they are deployed. FEMA and HHS will determine where future systems will be placed for operation.
Battelle CCDS has been developed based on research that Battelle performed for the FDA in 2015 to assess the feasibility to decontaminate N95 respirator masks in the event of a PPE shortage resulting from a pandemic. That VPHP decontamination FDA study has utilized the same system parameters and critical endpoints as the current system, resulting in 6-log reduction of G. stearothermophilus while not degrading the filter performance of N95 respirators for multiple decontamination cycles.
Healthcare providers that are enrolled in the Battelle CCDS program will collect worn respirator masks daily in accordance with an approved procedure and courier them to one of the active Battelle CCDS locations.
The PPE will be labeled with a barcoded serial number for tracking the chain-of-custody throughout the process to ensure that healthcare providers receive their own masks back. Each respirator mask will be marked with the number of times that mask has been processed.
“Battelle is providing critical support to our healthcare professionals across the country who are in desperate need for N95 respirator masks. That is why I got personally engaged to help connect Battelle with the appropriate contacts in the administration as they sought to rapidly scale up the manufacturing of decontamination systems nationwide,“ added Portman.
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries.