The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response last week awarded a contract to develop a high-speed way to produce N95 respirators for health care workers and other caregivers in a flu pandemic or other public health emergency. While U.S. manufacturers can produce up to about 150,000 respirators per day on a single machine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 90 million respirators would be needed over a 42-day period to safely treat flu patients in U.S. health care settings. “Pandemic preparedness in the United States is imperative to protecting health and saving lives, and respirator manufacturing capacity remains a critical gap in that preparedness,” said Robin Robinson, director of ASPR’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. “Innovations in manufacturing like this high-speed line can help bridge that gap and by applying innovative approaches to manufacturing day-to-day, we improve readiness.”