The new ventilator developed by NASA to treat the CCP Virus was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, April 30, for emergency use under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization, according to a press release issued by NASA.
The ventilation device, Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally (VITAL), was built by the engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) located in Southern California. The device is developed to treat patients with milder COVID-19 symptoms so that traditional ventilators can be freed up and used for patients who display the heaviest COVID-19 symptoms, according to the press release.
VITAL is specifically used for patients who are infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, and is expected to last three to four months, according to a news release issued by the FDA. These new ventilators are not meant to replace traditional ventilators.
“Fighting the virus and treating patients during this unprecedented global pandemic requires innovative approaches and action. It also takes an all hands-on deck approach, as demonstrated by the NASA engineers who used their expertise in spacecraft to design a ventilator tailored for very ill coronavirus patients. This example shows what we can do when everyone works together to fight COVID-19,” said Stephen Hahn, the FDA Commissioner.
Furthermore, he believes that through authorizing this ventilator, there will be an increase in the availability of devices that will help save the lives of patients infected with the CCP Virus, the news release stated.
“The FDA will continue to add products to this emergency use authorization, as appropriate, during this pandemic to facilitate an increase in ventilator inventory,” Hahn added.
Furthermore, the device’s license will be offered for free by the Office of Technology Transfer and Corporation Partnerships at Caltech, the office that manages the JPL at NASA. In addition, the office is currently reaching out to find manufacturers for the device, according to the press release issued by NASA.
“Now that we have a design, we’re working to pass the baton to the medical community, and ultimately patients, as quickly as possible. To that end, we are offering the designs for licensing on a royalty-free basis during the time of the pandemic,” said Fred Farina, chief innovation and corporate partnerships officer at Caltech.
There are several benefits to the new device, according to the press release, in that the device can be built much faster than a traditional ventilator, and the actual device is made up of fewer parts. The device is also much easier to maintain than normal traditional ventilators, according to the NASA press release.
Furthermore, the design of the new ventilator is much more flexible than a regular ventilator, which means that the device can be easily adapted to fit for use in field hospitals that are being set up in various centers, hotels, and other facilities around the world.
“This FDA authorization is a key milestone in a process that exemplifies the best of what government can do in a time of crisis. This ventilator is one of countless examples of how taxpayer investments in space exploration—the skills, expertise, and knowledge collected over decades of pushing boundaries and achieving firsts for humanity—translate into advancements that improve life on earth,” said Jim Bridenstine, the NASA Administrator.