The US FDA has issued an emergency use authorization to 3B Medical’s Lumin UVC System for the decontamination of N95 masks in certain healthcare settings, according to the company.

Lumin is a high-powered UVC based sanitizing device, initially developed for home use to clean CPAP accessories in a mirrored chamber. According to 3B Medical, the device is lab-tested to kill bacteria and viruses, including human coronavirus and influenza, in only five minutes with no chemicals.

The FDA authorization allows Lumin to be used by healthcare workers employed in nursing homes, long-term acute care, ambulatory, primary care, and clinics.

UVC was first reportedly used for N95 decontamination during the COVID-19 crisis by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Since then the CDC recognized UVC as a potential means of decontaminating N95 respirators, if the proper wavelength and UVC irradiance dose were used. While FDA has approved other systems for hospital use, the approved systems are complicated, limited to large hospitals and/or extremely expensive. Lumin is the only N95 decontamination system formally recognized by FDA for killing SARS-CoV-2 that can be purchased for under $300, and with a small enough footprint to be used safely in small offices and clinics, as well as in nursing homes.

“The COVID-19 global pandemic requires novel approaches and thinking outside the box.  We were starting to get inundated with calls from hospitals and nursing homes asking if Lumin was strong enough to kill SARS-CoV-2. Lumin’s total output in a single 5 minute cycle ranges up to  2,400 mJ/cm2, which studies show is sufficient to kill almost any pathogen, including SARS-CoV-2. A lot of the calls coming into our office are from Fire & Rescue departments, nursing homes and smaller community hospitals, clinics and primary care physician offices trying to keep their workers safe. Lumin is likely the only device designed for home use that is powered high enough to repurpose for this use. We are very excited to have our device authorized by FDA for this application”, said Alex Lucio, CEO of 3B Medical Inc.

N95 mask shortages have been widely reported throughout the country, and globally. “Being able to re-use an N95 mask quickly and effortlessly is a game changer for allowing healthcare workers to remain safe.  Front line healthcare workers are in dire need of an immediate solution to re-use their masks.  Lumin is fast and easy to use and we are glad the device could be re-purposed to meet that need in this crisis,” said Lucio.