NASA’s high-pressure ventilator, which has been tailored to treat coronavirus patients, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use under the FDA’s March 24 Ventilator Emergency Use Authorisation.

As reported last week by gasworld, the VITAL ventilator was developed by engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California to free up the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators so they can be used on coronavirus patients.

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“This FDA authorisation is a key milestone in a process that exemplifies the best of what government can do in a time of crisis,” said Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator.

“This ventilator is one of countless examples of how taxpayer investments in space exploration – the skills, expertise and knowledge collected over decades of pushing boundaries and achieving firsts for humanity – translate into advancements that improve life on Earth.”

The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at Caltech, which manages JPL for NASA, is offering a free license for VITAL and is reaching out to the commercial medical industry to find manufacturers for the device.

“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.”

The Emergency Use Authorisation allows the device to be used for coronavirus patients. Like all ventilators, VITAL requires patients to be sedated and have an oxygen tube inserted into their airway to breathe.

“Fighting the virus and treating patients during this unprecedented global pandemic requires innovative approaches and action,” explains Stephen Hahn, FDA Commissioner.

“It also takes an all hands-on deck approach, as demonstrated by the NASA engineers who used their expertise in spacecraft to design a ventilator tailored for very ill coronavirus patients. This example shows what we can do when everyone works together to fight COVID-19.”

“We believe today’s action will increase availability of these life-saving medical devices. The FDA will continue to add products to this emergency use authorization, as appropriate, during this pandemic to facilitate an increase in ventilator inventory.”