In current times, when the entire world is fighting COVID-19 pandemic; researchers, technical experts are striving to develop medical devices for the crisis. In a new development, NASA engineers have developed a new high pressure ventilator for COVID-19 patients that recently passed critical test at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York – an epicenter of COVID-19 in the U.S.
The device called Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally (VITAL) is developed by experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. The objective is to free up the limited supply of traditional ventilators in the country so that they can be used for patients suffering from severe COVID-19.
Technical Expertise, Testing Capabilities paved way to develop Ventilator Prototype
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory specializes in space craft, not medical devices, said the Director of the Institution. However, excellent engineering, rapid prototyping, and rigorous testing are some of the specialties of the institution, the director added. Hence, the institution realized it to be their duty to share their expertise and ingenuity at this time of world crisis.
Following this, NASA is seeking expedited FDA approval for the device with the help of emergency use authorization. The process is a fast-track one developed for crisis situations wherein approval takes only days rather than years.
The institution delivered a prototype of the device to the Human Simulation Lab at the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine – a medical institution of gold-standard. This is for inputs and for green signal of additional testing.
Meanwhile, the results of test carried out at the high-fidelity human lab of the institution have been very satisfying, said the Director. The NASA prototype performed under a number of simulated patient conditions, the Director added.