Three Indian firms selected to make NASA ventilator

Caltech offering free license for the device to reach technology across the world.

US Space agency NASA has shortlisted three Indian companies for manufacturing a new ventilator that uses one-seventh the parts of a traditional ventilator, tailored for coronavirus patients.

Called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), the prototype created by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, has received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

After selecting eight US manufacturers to make the ventilators JPL now is evaluating international manufacturers from countries as diverse as Brazil, Mexico, India and Malaysia, according to a NASA release.

Three approved Indian manufacturers are Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd, Bharat Forge Ltd and Medha Servo Drives Pvt Ltd.

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The high-pressure ventilator relying on parts already available in supply chains offers a simpler, more affordable option for treating critical patients.

This frees up traditional ventilators for those with the most severe covid-19 symptoms, NASA said. Its flexible design means it also can be modified for use in field hospitals.

The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at Caltech, which owns the patents and software for VITAL, is offering a free license for the device, NASA said.

”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.”

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.

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

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