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Sandia decontamination technology adds pandemic response to its list of successes

State: New Mexico

Region: Mid-Continent

Agency: Dept. of Energy

Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)

With a deployment history that included the 2001 anthrax attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing, a decontamination technology developed at Sandia National Laboratories was well positioned to assist first responders once again during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The environmentally friendly, fast-acting chemical product, called DF-200, is 99.99999% effective against a variety of bacteria, viruses and spores in a research lab setting. Acting like a detergent, DF-200 penetrates the respiratory fluids surrounding a virus and neutralizes the viral RNA so there is no potential for further infection.

DF-200 was used in federal and private office buildings after the 2001 anthrax attacks in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and later as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since then, it has aided the response to numerous real-world incidents, including the Ebola outbreak in Dallas and the Boston Marathon bombing. The technology was licensed to multiple companies so it could be produced for a variety of markets as well as national security applications.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, DF-200 products manufactured by several licensees were used to disinfect facilities used by the public. Since it is non-corrosive, it is particularly suited for use on high-traffic surfaces, which must be repeatedly decontaminated.

  • Decon7 initially licensed the Sandia technology and marketed it as D7 for responding to chemical and biological threats, but later expanded into the food industry, including protecting hogs in China against African swine fever. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, 350 tons of D7 were redirected from farms for disinfecting public schools, hospitals and government offices.
  • SpectraShield Techologies used DF-200 for disinfecting first responder and commercial/transportation facilities run by the City of San Diego. Its Spectra DF-500 product is also being used for disinfecting autonomous robot systems.
  • Intelegard customers found new uses for the company’s EasyDECON products. A fog application helped disinfect public spaces. A foot bath application helped avoid spread of contaminants from the shoes of nursing home residents. EasyDECON was also sprayed on shopping carts, playground equipment, childcare centers, and church pews.
  • The U.S. Army National Guard used Artemis Bio-Solutions’ Bio-Oxygen® products to combat the spread of coronavirus in 900 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Georgia. The program then spread to other National Guard units across the country. 

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