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Technicians in protective clothing do a dry run at Battelle's Critical Care Decontamination System in New York. Photo: John Paraskevas/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Battelle, an Ohio nonprofit research and development firm, has employees working to disinfect thousands of face masks used by health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: There is a shortage of personal protective equipment, even as companies from fashion and tech industries are stepping up to manufacture masks.

The state of play: Battelle typically works on a range of products such as robotics and oil drilling.

  • Battelle is training new employees so they can set up decontamination sites in Long Island, Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C. and other cities.

How it works: Battelle receives N95 masks from more than 100 hospitals, clinics, fire departments and nursing homes that are treated with hydrogen peroxide vapor, per the Times.

  • Masks are inspected before they are processed. Roughly 90% can be disinfected.
  • 50,000 masks are taken into the decontamination chamber per cycle, and workers make sure the masks don't overlap.
  • Workers are sprayed with a 70% alcohol solution after they exit the chamber.
  • A hydrogen peroxide generator releases a vapor to neutralize the coronavirus and other contaminants.
  • The masks are inspected after four hours for harmful levels of residual hydrogen peroxide before they are packaged and sent back.

Go deeper: The race to make more masks and ventilators

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.