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Coronavirus cases top 1.8 million globally

An N95 protective mask sits on the dashboard of an ambulance in Teaneck, New Jersey, on Saturday, April 11.An N95 protective mask sits on the dashboard of an ambulance in Teaneck, New Jersey, on Saturday, April 11. Angus Mordant/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The US Food and Drug Administration on Sunday announced a plan to decontaminate “millions” of N95 respirators per day, according to the agency.

Thousands of hospitals already have the system installed, according to the FDA, and could now use them on N95 respirators, which are in short supply.

It’s the agency’s third such authorization for a respirator decontamination system, with the first issued in late March and the second issued last week.

The agency said its most recent authorization, to a company called Advanced Sterilization Products, could allow for the decontamination of approximately 4 million N95 respirators per day.

“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,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn said in a news release.

The system, called the STERRAD Sterilization System, uses “vaporized hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization,” according to the agency.

More than 6,300 hospitals in the US already have the system installed, according to the FDA, and each system can reprocess approximately 480 respirators per day.

The system is limited to “a maximum of 2 decontamination cycles per respirator,” according to the FDA letter authorizing its use.

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