NASA has announced that the agency has called on all its experts and laboratories across the U.S. to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In a media briefing today, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine revealed that the agency’s experts and staff, along with its partners, focused on three problems for which they can help augment the national response. Today, NASA highlighted three technologies that were developed to help medical responders: VITAL Ventilator, Aerospace Valley Positive Pressure Helmet, and Surface Decontamination System.
The Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally (VITAL) is the work of engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and their partner, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. The ventilator was designed to treat patients with milder symptoms so that traditional ventilators could be used for patients with more severe symptoms. The prototype was developed in 37 days and passed a critical test at Icahn on 21 April. Engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio and Ohio company Emergency Products and Research, on the other hand, are producing AMBUStat – a device that can decontaminate spaces and kill surface particles of the virus – for use in ambulances, police cars and other spaces. They are also conducting research to maximize the effectiveness AMBUStat on COVID-19.
Finally, Armstrong Flight Research Center in California and its partners, Antelope Valley Hospital, the City of Lancaster, Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company (TSC), Antelope Valley College and members of the Antelope Valley Task Force, built an oxygen helmet to treat COVID-19 patients with minor symptoms. The Aerospace Valley Positive Pressure Helmet has been tested by Antelope Valley Hospital and TCS has already produced 500 units this week. NASA submitted a request to FDA for Emergency Use Authority and is now awaiting approval.
NASA’s solutions are the result of an agency wide call for ideas in the [email protected] internal platform on 1 April to determine how the agency can best leverage its expertise and capabilities in the fight against COVID-19. “NASA’s strength has always been our ability and passion – collective and individual – for solving problems. All the work being done shows how NASA is uniquely equipped to aid in the federal response to coronavirus by leveraging the ingenuity of our workforce, mobilizing investments made in the U.S. space agency to combat this disease, and working with public and private partnerships to maximize results,” Bridenstine expressed.