Covid-19 crisi: NASA to license tech for high-pressure ventilator on royalty-free basis

Mumbai | Updated on May 01, 2020 Published on May 01, 2020

FILE PHOTO   -  Reuters

A new high-pressure ventilator developed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) engineers for treating Covid-19 patients has received FDA approval on Friday via a fast-tracked emergency use authorisation.

NASA is now looking for a medical industry partner to manufacture the ventilator. The organisation will also be licensing its technology on a royalty-free basis during the pandemic.

“A new high-pressure ventilator developed by NASA engineers and tailored to treat coronavirus (Covid-19) patients today was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use under the FDA’s March 24 ventilator Emergency Use Authorization,” NASA said.

The device is called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally). It was developed by engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California in just 37 days “to free up the nation's limited supply of traditional ventilators so they may be used on patients with the most severe Covid-19 symptoms.”

The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at Caltech, which manages JPL for NASA will offer a free license for VITAL.

"Now that we have a design, we're working to pass the baton to the medical community, and ultimately patients, as quickly as possible," said Fred Farina, chief innovation and corporate partnerships officer at Caltech. "To that end, we are offering the designs for licensing on a royalty-free basis during the time of the pandemic."

Prior to the FDA's review, the VITAL prototype had passed a critical test on April 21 at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

The device is beneficial to combat the Covid-19 pandemic according to the organization as it can be built faster with fewer components and maintained more easily than a traditional ventilator.

Many of the components required to manufacture VITAL of which are currently available to potential manufacturers through existing supply chains, NASA said.

“Its flexible design means it also can be modified for use in field hospitals being set up in convention centers, hotels and other high-capacity facilities across the country and around the globe. Intended to last three or four months, the new device wouldn't replace current hospital ventilators, which can last years and are built to address a broader range of medical issues,” it said.

Published on May 01, 2020

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