In addition to a route to establish a production line for surgical masks, the Walloon Government has launched a study to set up a decontamination line for used surgical and respiratory protection masks (FFP2/3).

With the Liège University Hospital, 3 companies (Sterigenics, AMB Ecosteryl, Lasea) and 2 research centres (Materia Nova, Centexbel) have already carried out technical tests in order to set up a mask decontamination line.

They have drawn up a scientifically validated protocol which will be submitted to the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) on Wednesday. This decontamination/sterilization track consists of five types of method : (1) gamma irradiation, (2) UV irradiation, (3) ethylene oxide, (4) dry heat, (5) plasma. Several very recent studies clearly show the relevance of implementing this approach.

The University of Ghent, at the forefront of virology, but also the "Molecular Plasma Group" (Leuven/Luxembourg), a specialist in plasma decontamination, are also contributing to the project.

If this approach is validated by the Agency in the coming days, the decontamination process could be operational in three weeks.