Moscow, 22 April 2020 - Rosatom is continuing to sterilise medical products to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus, having sterilised 3,166,960 medical masks as of the morning of April 22 (506,660 over the course of April 21 alone), as well as 75,000 portable lab kits to test for COVID-19 (14,500 over the course of April 21 alone).
Sterilisation is being carried out by Sterion JSC (a JSC Rusatom Healthcare subsidiary), which has concluded a contract with Delrus to sterilise more than 58 million masks. The company transitioned from a two-shift to a three-shift (i.e. round-the-clock) work schedule to up its capacity and process up to 10 million masks per week.
As part of its contract with HEM Ltd., Sterion JSC is also sterilising portable test kits and aims to have sterilised 150,000 units by the end of April 2020. JSC Sterion sterilises medical supplies using specialised equipment manufactured by Rosatom’s other enterprises, its main tool being the UEL 10 kW linear electron accelerator. Sterilisation up to a sterility assurance level (SAL) of 10−6 is achieved by means of targeting the medical kits, pre-loaded onto a conveyor belt, with a beam of accelerated electrons. This method allows for the safe sterilisation of medical supplies without the need to unpack them from the shipping containers provided by manufacturers. After being processed with a stream of accelerated electrons, the supplies immediately become usable and do not require degassing (as would have been the case with several other sterilisation methods) or any other additional actions before actual use. One box containing 980 masks can be processed in 37 seconds.
As previously noted by Alexander Shibanov, General Director of JSC Rusatom Healthcare – Rosatom’s integrator in the field of radiation technologies in medicine and industry – JSC Rusatom Healthcare’s subsidiary JSC NIPHI will start sterilising up to 3 million masks per week in the near future. Shibanov has also announced plans to scale up the sterilisation of portable test kits. “In May we plan to reach 300,000,” he said.