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Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has selected eight US manufacturers to make a new ventilator designed for Covid-19 patients.
The companies selected for licenses are Vacumed, Stark Industries, MVent, iButtonLink, Evo Design, DesignPlex Biomedical, ATRON Group and Pro-Dex.
Nasa noted that the companies have been selected from over 100 applications received by its laboratory.
Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally (VITAL), the prototype for the high-pressure ventilator, was developed by JPL engineers in 37 days with input from doctors and medical device manufacturers.
The design uses one-seventh the parts of a traditional ventilator and relies on parts already available in supply chains.
The ventilator design offers an affordable option for treating critical patients while freeing up traditional ventilators for those with severe Covid-19 symptoms.
The VITAL prototype received an emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 30 April.
The device has been successfully tested by the Human Simulation Lab in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai in April.
The Caltech Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships is offering a free licence for the device. Caltech, which owns the patents and software of VITAL, manages JPL for Nasa.
JPL is currently looking out for international manufacturers from countries such as Brazil, Mexico, India and Malaysia.
Meanwhile, a modified VITAL design was recently tested by Nasa at the UCLA Simulation Center in Los Angeles. The new design uses compressed air and can be launched at a wider range of hospitals.
The design is submitted to the FDA for EUA and is currently under review.