Three Indian manufacturers to commercialize NASA developed ventilator

US Space agency NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California has shortlisted three Indian companies for manufacturing a new ventilator that uses one-seventh the parts of a traditional ventilator, tailored for coronavirus patients.

Alpha Design Technologies, Bharat Forge and Medha Servo Drives are three of 18 companies in the world to have been selected to manufacture the life-saving machine.

The Department of State took to twitter earlier today and not only congratulated the Indian Companies but also endorsed the US-India relationship.

“Congrats to the 3 Indian companies @NASA selected to make a ventilator specifically designed to treat COVID19 patients. Only 21 licenses were granted worldwide — a testament to the grantees and the importance of the US-India partnership to combat COVID-19,” Bureau of south and central Asian Affairs tweeted.

Aptly titled VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), this prototype has received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. VITAL will offer a simpler, more affordable option for treating critical patients while freeing up traditional ventilators for those with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms. It is claimed to be flexible design means it also can be modified for use in field hospitals.

The VITAL team is very excited to see their technology licensed,” said Leon Alkalai, manager of the JPL Office of Strategic Partnerships and a member of the VITAL leadership team.

“Our hope is to have this technology reach across the world and provide an additional source of solutions to deal with the on-going COVID-19 crisis”, Alkalai further added.

VITAL was developed with input from doctors and medical device manufacturers. A prototype of the JPL device was successfully tested by the Human Simulation Lab in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai on April 23.

A modified design, which uses compressed air and can be deployed by a greater range of hospitals, was recently tested at the UCLA Simulation Center in Los Angeles. A high-fidelity lung simulator tested almost 20 different ventilator settings, representing a number of scenarios that could be seen in critically ill patients in an intensive care unit.

“VITAL performed well in simulation testing with both precise and reproducible results,” said Dr Tisha Wang, clinical chief of the UCLA Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. “In addition, the setup and operation of the ventilator were quick and user-friendly. The UCLA team commends JPL for actively contributing to the COVID-19 response and successfully addressing one of the key medical needs in the sickest group of patients.”

The compressed-air design also has been submitted to the FDA for a ventilator Emergency Use Authorization and is currently under review.

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