With the whole world battling COVID-19 pandemic, the good news is finally starting to come up. The most recent one is NASA engineers coming up with a new super-efficient high-pressure COVID-19 ventilator. The contraption is called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally) managed to clear a critical test at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
JPL Director Michael Watkins says, ‘We specialize in spacecraft, not medical-device manufacturing. 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 can not only be built faster but can also be maintained much more easily as opposed to a traditional ventilator. Furthermore, it is comprised of fewer parts and can be modified for use in field hospitals.
NASA is now busy trying to gain an expedited FDA approval for VITAL. They have applied for the emergency use authorization which is a super speedy approval process for situations that classify as a crisis. A VITAL prototype has already been sent to the Human Simulation Lab in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai to conduct extensive testing.
Dr. Matthew Levin who is the 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, said, ‘ We were very pleased with the results of the testing we performed in our high-fidelity human simulation lab. 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.’
NASA was able to develop this ventilator in 37 days and it has been specifically designed while keeping COVID-19 patients in mind.