US space agency is as active as before and joining the fight against coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed maximum number of lives in the country. they have come out with a new viable and affordable ventilator, positive pressure helmet for oxygen intake and producing a portable surface decontamination system called AMBUStat.
“We’re all in this together. Here at NASA, we’re channeling our expertise and ingenuity to join the fight against COVID-19 with efforts across the country. NASA’s strength has always been our ability and passion – collective and individual – for solving problems,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Engineers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California have designed a new high-pressure ventilator, called VITAL, to treat patients with milder symptoms, thereby keeping the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators available for patients with more severe COVID-19 symptoms.
“We specialize in spacecraft, not medical-device manufacturing,” said JPL Director Michael Watkins. “But excellent engineering, rigorous testing and rapid prototyping are some of our specialties. When people at JPL realized they might have what it takes to support the medical community and the broader community, they felt it was their duty to share their ingenuity, expertise and drive.”
NASA next is seeking expedited FDA approval for the device via an emergency use authorization, a fast-track approval process developed for crisis situations that takes just days rather than years. To get input from a gold-standard medical facility, JPL delivered a prototype of the device to the Human Simulation Lab in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai for additional testing.
Like all ventilators, VITAL requires patients to be sedated and an oxygen tube inserted into their airway to breathe. The new device wouldn’t replace current hospital ventilators, which can last years and are built to address a broader range of medical issues. Instead, VITAL is intended to last three to four months and is specifically tailored for COVID-19 patients.
Positive Pressure Helmet
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center teamed up with a task force in Antelope Valley, California to solve possible shortages of medical equipment in the local community. The first of these efforts, a positive pressure oxygen helmet, has been successfully tested. This task force is working closely with medical professionals at the hospital to provide alternative solutions to needed equipment that is not available for a large-scale emergency. One of their first efforts was to build a prototype oxygen hood that has now proven to work for the doctors at the hospital. The production of 500 will begin next week at TSC’s Faith Facility in Mojave.
The device, developed by NASA engineer Mike Buttigieg, is an oxygen hood for COVID-19 patients exhibiting minor symptoms and will minimize the need for these patients to use ventilators. The device functions like a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to force oxygen into a patient’s low-functioning lungs.
Surface Decontamination System
NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio guided the development and production of a small, portable and economical device called AMBUStat that decontaminates spaces, such as ambulances, at a fraction of the cost of systems currently in use.
The small, portable, and economical device that decontaminates spaces such as ambulances in under an hour and at a fraction of the cost of systems currently in use. AMBUStat is being used in police cars and other areas killing airborne and surface particles of viruses. Now NASA is conducting additional research to continue to maximize the effectiveness of this device on COVID-19.
NASA’s legacy of human space exploration, research and technology development has yielded countless innovations that prove the direct and profound impact of taxpayer investment in America’s space program on our quality of life on Earth, including improved technologies for water purification, air filtration, kidney dialysis and tele-medicine, as well as research that has led to improved vaccines, drug therapies, and mitigations for bone loss.
“We can only speculate as to the breadth of transformative benefits that will come from America’s return to the Moon through NASA’s Artemis program and our efforts to put the first humans on Mars,” said NASA in a statement.