NASA's VITAL developed
NASA engineers have developed a new, easy-to-build high-pressure ventilator tailored specifically to treat COVID-19 patients. The device, called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), passed a critical test this week at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, an epicentre of COVID-19 in the US, NASA said. VITAL is designed to treat patients with milder symptoms, thereby keeping the country's limited supply of traditional ventilators available for patients with more severe COVID-19 symptoms.
- NASA is now seeking FDA approval for the device via an emergency use authorization, a fast-track approval process developed for crisis situations that takes just days rather than years.
- 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 US and throughout the world.
- VITAL 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 centres, hotels, and other high-capacity facilities across the country and around the globe.
- Like all ventilators, VITAL requires patients to be sedated and an oxygen tube inserted into their airway to breathe.
- The new device wouldn't replace current hospital ventilators, which can last years and are built to address a broader range of medical issues.
- Instead, VITAL is intended to last three to four months and is specifically tailored for COVID-19 patients, according to NASA.