The EPA announced on Wednesday a faster process for approving new products that can keep surfaces clean of the coronavirus for several days and could result in chemical companies getting products onto the market faster.
Products that make claims of long-term effectiveness will move “to the front of the line” for agency review under the draft guidance, Alexandra Dunn, the the Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, said during a press call.
The announcement comes as the Trump administration is racing to push ahead new treatments and protections against the virus.
Manufacturers have been coming forward with many types of disinfectants that don’t require constant wiping, Dunn said. The EPA’s new roadmap gives companies guidance on the kinds of scientific data the agency needs so it can process its reviews and possible approvals faster, she said.
The guidance is aimed at two categories of products: supplemental residual antimicrobial products that don’t replace regular cleaning but can nevertheless offer protection for weeks or even years, and residual disinfectants, which take effect within 10 minutes of a virus contacting a surface and remain effective for up to 24 hours.
“As we continue to re-open our schools, workplaces, and other public spaces, it is important Americans have as many tools as possible to slow the spread of Covid-19,” EPA chief Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
So far the EPA has only approved one long-lasting surface disinfectant against the coronavirus, SurfaceWise2, made by Allied BioScience. Dunn said that product, which allegedly kills the coronavirus on surfaces for up to seven days, was registered under emergency authority for limited use in Texas.
Dunn didn’t offer timelines for how much faster the new process would be. The EPA typically takes four to five months for new registrations and up to two years for brand new products, she said.
The new roadmap is open for a 60-day comment period.