Innovation at MSU allows them to clean 15,000 pieces of personal protective equipment a day


VHP decontamination room Credit: Michigan State University

The university is the first public institution in Michigan to use the process at this scale.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan State University is doubling up its efforts to repurpose personal protective equipment or PPE.

The second decontamination process using vaporized hydrogen peroxide is combined with the MSU Extension heating process to make the university capable of cleaning nearly 15,000 pieces of PPE each day.

In putting this plan together, we evolved from animal care and human medical professionals and administrators, into a team of innovators, problem solvers and collaborators. It has been truly inspiring

Director of Campus Animal Resources and University Veterinarian F. Claire Hankenson

The partnership with Sparrow Health System, Henry Ford Health System, and the MSU Animal Care Program is using an available animal research facility to treat thousands of pieces of equipment at one time.

The effort will expand to also take in equipment from local first responders, including the MSU Veterinary Medical Center, Lansing Fire Department and Lansing Police Department, according to MSU Today.

By far, this is the one of the most invigorating projects I have been able to be involved with during my career – specifically, working with a multi-disciplinary team of faculty and local and statewide health partners to develop a solution that preserves and protects those on the front lines of this crisis

Director of Campus Animal Resources and University Veterinarian F. Claire Hankenson.

The heating process was started earlier this month at MSU Extension Food Processing Innovation Center when they retooled their equipment to heat the masks in such a way it kills viruses and bacteria.

While the heating method can only be used to decontaminate N95 masks, the vaporized hydrogen peroxide can be used on masks as well as goggles, gowns, face shields and other safety gear.

We greatly value our partnership with MSU to provide an innovative approach to protect our staff who are providing vital care on the frontlines to our patients

Richard Davis, PhD, EdM, senior vice president and CEO, Henry Ford Health System South Market and Henry Ford Hospital

After equipment is loaded in the rooms, the VHP decontamination cycle takes six hours.

Spartans don’t see limitations; we see possibilities.

MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D

Once the decontamination cycle is complete, the equipment is packaged and picked up by the health care workers’ and first responders’ facilities using proper chain of custody procedures. The process is designed to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination and ensure each piece of equipment is returned to the original user.

This kind of ingenuity doesn’t happen by magic. It involves collaboration, persistence, and perseverance.

James F. Dover, Sparrow Health System president and CEO

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