NASA has announced that some of its Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers have developed a new medical ventilator called ‘Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally’ (VITAL), which is intended for use with coronavirus patients who have milder cases of COVID-19. The technology was developed as part of the agency’s overall effort to help the nation fight against the virus.
At the beginning of the month, NASA issued a call to its employees, tasking them with pitching ideas on its internal NASA@WORK platform for ways it could help combat the coronavirus outbreak. The space agency says that it received 250 ideas in the first two weeks, prompting thousands of votes and hundreds of comments.
Beyond that, NASA employees have also been working with various partners to help speed up the response to the pandemic. Among its other efforts is VITAL, a high-pressure ventilator that was designed specifically for coronavirus patients.
According to the space agency, its VITAL ventilator could be used with patients who have milder COVID-19 symptoms, but who still require the use of a ventilator to breathe. This will enable hospitals to reserve their traditional ventilators for more serious cases of COVID-19.
NASA explains that the VITAL ventilator can be built faster than traditional ventilators and that it can also be more easily maintained in comparison. This ventilator features fewer parts, which means there are fewer components to potentially break, plus it, therefore, costs less money to produce.
The FDA is currently reviewing the VITAL ventilator for a potential Emergency Use Authorization.