WASHINGTON (August 24, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a groundbreaking development in the current Administration’s efforts to combat the novel coronavirus. In a first-of-its kind step, EPA has issued an emergency exemption to the state of Texas permitting it to allow American Airlines and Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine to use a new product that kills coronavirus like the SARS-CoV-2 virus on surfaces for up to seven days. After carefully reviewing the available data and information, the agency has determined that the product helps to address the current national emergency. This product is expected to provide longer-lasting protection in public spaces, increasing consumer confidence in resuming normal air travel and other activities.
“There is no higher priority for the current Administration than protecting the health and safety of Americans and I want to thank those who have worked with us to achieve this major milestone,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Since day one, I have been committed to ensuring that Americans have as many tools as possible to protect their families and today we are delivering on that promise by approving the first-ever long-lasting antiviral product that will help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.”
“Texas is proud to once again step up and join the fight against this virus,” said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. “This Section 18 exemption gives businesses another tool to protect consumers as we try to bring our economy back. Thank you to the President and EPA Administrator Wheeler for your commitment to the safety of the American people and to ending this pandemic that is choking our economy and our way of life.”
“We are very grateful for Administrator Wheeler and the many hardworking professionals at the EPA who rigorously evaluated SurfaceWise2 to safeguard our customers and team members from viruses, such as the flu and coronavirus,” said American Airlines Chief Operating Officer David Seymour. “SurfaceWise2 will make the travel experience even safer for those who are ready to return to the skies and reopen our country for business.”
“We are thrilled to work closely with the EPA on approval for SurfaceWise2, which enables people to get back to living their lives,” said Allied BioScience CEO Michael Ruley. “This initial EPA approval clears the way to effectively protect people against COVID-19 as a residual solution proven to provide long-term, non-toxic surface protection from viruses, including coronaviruses. We know how tirelessly the EPA has worked to evaluate a litany of innovative products, and we are excited to provide this added layer of defense for our country.”
EPA is approving the emergency exemption requests submitted under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). SurfaceWise2—a product manufactured by Allied BioScience completely in the United States—is a surface coating that inactivates viruses and bacteria within two hours of application and continues to work against them for up to seven days. EPA’s approval will allow Texas to permit American Airlines airport facilities and planes at specific locations and two Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine Clinics to use SurfaceWise2 under certain conditions.
Over the coming months, Allied BioScience will pursue a non-emergency approval under FIFRA Section 3 by submitting additional data to meet EPA’s registration requirements as an antiviral surface coating. If the full registration process is completed, the product would become available for purchase by members of the public.
EPA anticipates posting information for companies or individuals who are interested in pursuing a FIFRA Section 3 registration for antiviral surface coatings in the coming weeks. In the interim, states or federal agencies interested in pursuing a Section 18 Emergency Exemption Request for products that claim residual efficacy against viruses for up to seven days should be prepared to include efficacy data demonstrating that the product is durable and effective against viruses in their applications. Durability and efficacy should both be evaluated. For example, antiviral efficacy should be assessed using coated surfaces that have been exposed to physical touches/abrasion and treatment with disinfectants. EPA will review the results of these studies to ensure that surface coatings remain effective under the anticipated proposed conditions of use.
For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/section-18-emergency-exemption-requests-and-coronavirus-covid-19
SurfaceWise2 is meant to inactivate viruses that land on a surface between regular cleanings. This product is not a replacement for routine cleaning and disinfection with products from EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. EPA recommends that facilities continue to follow the cleaning and disinfection recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please note that according to the CDC, while “it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” the virus is thought to spread mainly through close contact between individuals.
The approved Section 18 emergency requests are effective for a year. As new data emerge, EPA may alter the terms of the product’s emergency uses.