FDA approves new NASA ventilator for emergency response in COVID-19 treatment

FDA approves new NASA ventilator for emergency response in COVID-19 treatment

FDA approves new NASA ventilator for emergency response in COVID-19 treatment

According to the Space Agency, a new ventilator developed by NASA to treat victims of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was issued emergency approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 30. 

The engineers of NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California., developed a high-pressure ventilators unit called VITAL, to respond to the limited supply of traditional ventilators for COVID-19 patients with respiratory distress.

The FDA has approved this VITAL ventilator for coronavirus disease patients designed and built by engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“This FDA authorization is a key milestone in a process that exemplifies the best government can do in a time of crisis,” said NASA Chief Jim Bridenstine in a statement. “This ventilator is one of the countless examples of how taxpayers’ investment in space exploration—the skills, expertise and knowledge that have been collected over decades of bounding and achieving firsts for humanity—translates into advancements that improve life on Earth.”

FDA officials approved the VITAL ventilator (the name is short for Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally) under the administration’s Emergency Use Authorization of March 24. JPL engineers developed the new ventilator in 37 days and tested it April 21 at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. 

The ventilator was one of several coronavirus-fighting devices and technologies NASA showed President Donald Trump last week. 

“VITAL poses several benefits in the national response to COVID-19,” NASA officials said in the statement. “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.”

Some of the dozens of engineers involved in creating a ventilator prototype specially targeted to coronavirus disease patients at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. 

The device can also be modified for use in field hospitals, like those in some convention centers and hotels across the country, NASA officials added. The VITAL ventilator is designed to last up to four months and is not a replacement for dedicated hospital ventilators, which can last years.

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which manages JPL for NASA, is offering a free license for the VITAL ventilator to commercial medical manufacturers.

“Now that we have a design, we’re working to pass the baton to the medical community, and ultimately patients, as quickly as possible,” Fred Farina, chief innovation and corporate partnerships officer at Caltech, said in the statement. “To that end, we are offering the designs for licensing on a royalty-free basis during the time of the pandemic.”

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