NASA picks 3 Indian firms to make low cost Covid-19 ventilator


(IANS) NASA has selected three Indian companies to make a low-cost ventilator tailored for Covid-19 patients.

The three Indian companies are Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd, Bharat Forge Ltd and Medha Servo Drives Pvt Ltd, the US space agency said in a statement on Friday.

The prototype, which was created by NASA”s Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers in just 37 days, received an emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration on April 30.

Called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), the high-pressure ventilator was designed to use one-seventh the parts of a traditional ventilator, relying on parts already available in the supply chains.

It offers a simpler, more affordable option for treating critical patients while freeing up traditional ventilators for those with the most severe Covid-19 symptoms.

Its flexible design means that it can also be modified for use in field hospitals, NASA said.

The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which owns the patents and software for VITAL, is offering a free licence for the device. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

“The VITAL team is very excited to see its technology licenced,” Leon Alkalai, Manager of the JPL Office of Strategic Partnerships, and a member of the VITAL leadership team, said in a statement.

“Our hope is to have this technology reach across the world and provide an additional source of solution to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis,” it added.

NASA has so far selected 21 companies — eight US companies and 13 international companies (including three from India) — to make the ventilator developed with inputs from doctors and medical device manufacturers.

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