NASA engineers have developed a new super-efficient high-pressure COVID-19ventilator. The device, called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), passed a critical test Tuesday at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
An important duty
"We specialize in spacecraft, not medical-device manufacturing," said JPL Director Michael Watkins.
"But excellent engineering, rigorous testing, and rapid prototyping are some of our specialties. When people at JPL realized they might have what it takes to support the medical community and the broader community, they felt it was their duty to share their ingenuity, expertise, and drive."
VITAL is an efficient device that can be built faster and maintained more easily than a conventional ventilator. The device also consists of far fewer parts and can be modified for use in field hospitals.
NASA is now in the process of seeking expedited FDA approval for VITAL. They are going through emergency use authorization, a super speedy approval process for crisis situations that takes days rather than years.
NASA is also seeking input from a medical facility. They have sent a VITAL prototype to the Human Simulation Lab in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai for additional testing.
"We were very pleased with the results of the testing we performed in our high-fidelity human simulation lab," said Dr. Matthew Levin, Director of Innovation for the Human Simulation Lab and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Preoperative and Pain Medicine, and Genetics and Genomics Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine.
"The NASA prototype performed as expected under a wide variety of simulated patient conditions. The team feels confident that the VITAL ventilator will be able to safely ventilate patients suffering from COVID-19 both here in the United States and throughout the world."
It took 37 days for NASA to develop the novel ventilator. VITAL is specifically tailored for COVID-19 patients and is intended to last three to four months.
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