The engineers at NASA have developed a high-pressure ventilator prototype specifically tailored to help coronavirus patients, according to the agency.
According to CNN, it’s called VITAL, or Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally. And after passing a critical test at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York earlier this week, NASA is hoping for fast-track approval of the ventilator in the coming days so it can be used to help coronavirus patients.
The prototype works like traditional ventilators, where sedated patients rely on an oxygen tube to help them breathe. But it’s built to last three or four months unlike ventilators in hospitals that were designed to last for years and help patients with other medical issues. The engineers hope that more traditional ventilators can be freed up for patients with the most severe cases of coronavirus if VITAL is put into place.
The innovative ventilator was also designed to offer more oyxgen at higher pressures than typical models because Dr. Levin said some of the patients he’s treating needed that capability.
Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena developed the ventilator, which can be built quickly using fewer parts, most of which are available in current supply chains, the agency said. But it won’t compete with the existing supply chain for ventilators.
It was also designed to be flexible with easy maintenance, meaning it can be used in the diverse settings hosting field hospitals, including hotels and convention centers.