NASA engineers have developed a new, easy-to-build high-pressure ventilator tailored specifically to treat COVID-19 patients. The US space agency said that the device, called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), passed a critical test this week at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, an epicentre of COVID-19 in the US.
NASA added that VITAL is designed to treat patients with milder symptoms, thereby keeping country’s limited supply of traditional ventilators available for patients with more severe COVID-19 symptoms.
NASA is now seeking FDA approval for the device via an emergency use authorization, a fast-track approval process developed for crisis situations that takes just days rather than years.
VITAL 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.