US congratulates three Indian firms chosen to make NASA's COVID ventilators

ST Staff
Thursday, 4 June 2020

A high fidelity lung simulator tested nearly 20 different ventilator settings, representing a series of scenarios that could be seen in an intensive care unit in critically ill patients.

U.S. Space Agency NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California has licensed three Indian origin companies to manufacture a new ventilator that uses one-seventh parts of a traditional ventilator designed for patients with coronavirus. The three selected companies are Alpha Design Technologies, Bharat Forge and Medha Servo Drives.

The United States has congratulated three Indian companies that NASA has chosen to make a special ventilator to treat COVID-19 patients.

The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in a tweet said, "Congrats to the 3 Indian companies NASA selected to make a ventilator specifically designed to treat COVID-19 patients. Only 21 licenses were granted worldwide -- a testament to the grantees and the importance of the US-India partnership to combat COVID19." 
 

The JPL engineers designed the special ventilator, called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), and received the Food and Drug Administration's 'Emergency Use Authorisation.' For those with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms, VITAL will offer a convenient and affordable option to treat critical patients while freeing up traditional ventilators. Flexible design is claimed means it can also be modified for use in field hospitals.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory tweeted, "Manufacturers were selected to make our COVID-19-specific ventilator, VITAL. It's simpler and more affordable than traditional ventilators, freeing the latter for more severe symptoms. Its design can be used in field hospitals."

VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), the high-pressure ventilator was designed to use one-seventh component of a conventional ventilator based on parts already present in the distribution chains, according to the release by NASA on 29 May. 

VITAL was developed with input from physicians and the manufacturers of medical devices. The Human Simulation Lab at the Anesthetics, Perioperative and Pain Medicine Department at Mount Sinai on 23 April successfully tested a JPL prototype device. A high fidelity lung simulator tested nearly 20 different ventilator settings, representing a series of scenarios that could be seen in an intensive care unit in critically ill patients.

Dr Tisha Wang, Clinical Chief of the UCLA Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine said, “VITAL performed well in simulation testing with both precise and reproducible results.”

Additionally, the ventilator setup and operation was fast and user-friendly. The UCLA team commends JPL for contributing actively to the Covid-19 response and successfully addressing one of the key medical needs in the sickest patient group, he further said. 

Wang also said it offers a simpler, more affordable option to treat critical patients while freeing up traditional ventilators for those with the most severe symptoms of COVID-19. Its flexible design also allows it to be adapted for use in field hospitals

NASA has selected 18 more companies from around the world to produce the life-saving machine, in addition to the three Indian companies.

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