ECU & Vidant decontaminating PPE to reuse

Published: May. 27, 2020 at 10:06 PM EDT
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A team from ECU and Vidant have developed a process that decontaminates PPE so that it can be reused.

The methods will conserve and extend the life of PPE at Vidant Health locations, ECU Physicians clinics and Brody School of Medicine in case supply chains are disrupted.

Dr. Harry Ploehn is the Dean and Professor of the College of Engineering and Technology and also a member of the team who developed this process.

He said we really don't know when another wave of positive cases will hit us and doesn't want hospitals to be overwhelmed.

The process of decontaminating PPE uses alcohol as a disinfectant, heat treatment for certain PPE and hydrogen peroxide for others.

Dr. Ploehn said they want to be prepared. "This is a real war. It's gone into a quieter phase now but the virus is still there and we still have to battle against it. And so we have to work together and be prepared for that battle. Our doctors, our nurses, our providers are the front line of that battle."

The recycled PPE is not being reused right now but saved in the event if supply chains are cut off.

Dr. Ploehn said the decontaminating process is CDC and FDA approved.