A new ventilator developed by NASA engineers and tailored to treat COVID-19 patients has received an Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA.
The VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally) ventilator was developed by engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California to free up the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators so they may be used on patients with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms.
The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at Caltech, which manages JPL for NASA, is offering a free license for VITAL and is reaching out to the commercial medical industry to find manufacturers for the device.
“Now that we have a design, we’re working to pass the baton to the medical community, and ultimately patients, as quickly as possible,” said Fred Farina, chief innovation and corporate partnerships officer at Caltech. “To that end, we are offering the designs for licensing on a royalty-free basis during the time of the pandemic.”
Prior to the FDA’s review, the VITAL prototype passed a critical test April 21 at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. VITAL poses several benefits in the national response to COVID-19. It can be built faster and maintained more easily than a traditional ventilator, and is composed of far fewer parts, many of which are currently available to potential manufacturers through existing supply chains. Its flexible design means it also can be modified for use in field hospitals being set up in convention centers, hotels and other high-capacity facilities across the country and around the globe. Intended to last three or four months, the new device wouldn’t replace current hospital ventilators, which can last years and are built to address a broader range of medical issues.
“This FDA authorization is a key milestone in a process that exemplifies the best of what government can do in a time of crisis,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “This ventilator is one of countless examples of how taxpayer investments in space exploration – the skills, expertise and knowledge collected over decades of pushing boundaries and achieving firsts for humanity – translate into advancements that improve life on Earth.”
The Emergency Use Authorization allows for use of the device specifically for COVID-19 patients, with the aim of addressing the acute demand for ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally) is a new high-pressure ventilator developed by NASA and tailored to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California designed the device to free up the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators so they may be used on patients with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms.