Virgin Orbit announced on 22 April that the FDA has granted its “bridge ventilator” Emergency Use Authority (EUA). The company said that it has begun producing ventilators at a rate of 100 units per week and that it is already speaking to its local and international manufacturing partners to increase production capacity. Virgin Orbit also expects to deliver 100 units to California’s Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) in the next few days.
“Our team is so grateful to have the opportunity to channel our energies in a way that can hopefully make a difference in this crisis. Our thanks and admiration go to the incredible doctors in the BVC, to the regulators at the FDA, to Governor Newsom, our community leaders and to every health provider out there! Healthcare workers around the world have repeatedly shown that they are true heroes. This is a time when we must all pull together and support them in every way we can,” Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said.
Similar to emergency ventilators developed by university researchers and have been granted an FDA EUA, Virgin Orbit’s ventilators are designed as automated versions of manual resuscitators. The ventilators were developed to treat COVID-19 patients with minor to moderate respiratory failure to free up healthcare workers and more sophisticated ventilators for severe cases. Virgin Orbit developed its ventilators with the guidance of the Bridge Ventilator Consortium — a group of doctors, medical researchers, and medical device engineers collaborating to advise multiple different low-cost ventilator efforts.