President Trump calls for quick FDA approval of Battelle technology to sterilize masks

President Donald Trump stands with gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine as he speaks during a rally, at the IX Center, in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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Editor's Note: Since publishing of this story, the FDA has approved Battelle’s system that can decontaminate thousands of masks a day, according to a statement from the company. The company says it will now be operating at full capacity.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — President Donald Trump on Sunday called for prompt approval on the Food and Drug Administration's part to approve technology developed by a Columbus-based company that can sanitize thousands of masks a day for reuse.

"Hope the FDA can approve Mask Sterilization equipment ASAP," Trump tweeted.

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Earlier Sunday, the FDA handed down the decision to limit the use of Battelle's system.

The FDA has authorized Battelle to sterilize only 10,000 surgical masks in Ohio each day, though the company can sterilize up to 160,000 masks daily in Ohio alone.

Gov. Mike DeWine said he was "stunned" by the move and called the FDA's decision "reckless."

"Battelle's innovative technology has the capability to protect healthcare professionals and first responders in Ohio and across the country, but in this time of crisis, the FDA has decided not to support those who are risking their lives to save others," a statement from DeWine read in part. "This is a matter of life and death. I am not only disappointed by this development, but I'm also stunned that the FDA would decline to do all it can to protect this country's frontline workers in this serious time of need."

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost echoed DeWine's statement, threatening a lawsuit if Trump does not intervene.

"If Battelle’s technology for sterilizing face masks for re-use works safely, limiting it to only 10,000 a day is foolish," Yost tweeted on Sunday. "If it doesn’t, allowing it at all is reckless."


Battelle released this statement regarding the FDA's decision:

"We are thankful that the Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization to operate Battelle CCDS at our facilities. We continue to work with FDA to maximize the impact of the Critical Care Decontamination System by expanding use to other locations as well as increasing the number of respirator masks that are allowed to be processed each day."

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