NASA engineers have designed a mass-producible ventilator tailored to coronavirus patients, and it could get emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration by the weekend.
A team of engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, designed and built the ventilator in just 37 days. The device, called VITAL as an acronym for Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally, uses one-seventh the number of parts required for a conventional ventilator. That would make it easier to mass produce quickly.
NASA administrators said they would offer a free licence to help get the device into hospitals faster. That could help emergency-response departments prepare for future influxes of COVID-19 patients, which experts expect to see once lockdowns across the country begin to lift.
A prototype of the ventilator was tested at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, where the school’s Human Simulation Lab simulated a range of patient conditions.
“The testing was outstanding,” Dave Gallagher, a JPL associate director who worked with the team, said in a press call on Thursday.
The team has submitted an application for emergency-use authorization from the FDA, Gallagher said, and expects approval within 48 hours.
These ventilators use ‘off the shelf’ parts so there won’t be supply chain issues or disruptions to the supply chains of companies like GM who are manufacturing the more complex systems.
Our best and brightest scientists and engineers got us to the Moon and Mars. They brought Apollo 13 back to Earth through sheer ingenuity against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Way to go, America’s best and brightest!