NASA gave another public statement on May 1, 2020, affirming that the new high-pressure ventilator developed by NASA engineers to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use under the FDA’s March 24 ventilator Emergency Use Authorization.
Called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), the device 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.
“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.
The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at Caltech, which manages JPL for NASA, is offering a free licence for VITAL and is reaching out to the commercial medical industry.
“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. Battling the infection and treating patients during this unprecedented global pandemic requires innovative approaches and action. 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 centres, hotels and other high-capacity facilities across the country and around the globe.