How is NASA Fighting COVID-19

When NASA launched a call for ideas on April 1 through the internal crowdsourcing platform “ NASA@work,” it received numerous ideas within two weeks. The result of NASA@work challenge is some innovative ideas that will quickly respond to the current crisis.

How is NASA Fighting COVID-19
Image: Nasa

How is NASA Fighting COVID-19

NASA has always supported the world with its innovations, technology, and precise data. To combat the coronavirus disease, NASA is leveraging its expertise and capabilities. It is solving medical equipment crisis through advanced ventilators, helmets, and decontamination systems.

When NASA launched a call for ideas on April 1 through the internal crowdsourcing platform “ NASA@work,” it received numerous ideas within two weeks. The result of NASA@work challenge is some innovative ideas that will quickly respond to the current crisis. Let us see some equipment highlighted at the media briefing. 

VITAL- The COVID-19 prototype ventilator 

NASA developed a high-pressure ventilator VITAL, within 37 days for treating patients suffering from the current disease. VITAL stands for Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally. It is intended to support the limited supply of ventilators at the hospitals. At present, it is important to use ventilators for severe cases only. 

The new ventilator is created at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Southern California. “We specialize in spacecraft, not medical-device manufacturing, but excellent engineering, rigorous testing, and rapid prototyping are some of our specialities,” said Michael Watkins, JPL director. 

NASA is looking for FDA approval for VITAL through the fast track approval process. This process is developed especially for emergency situations that take only a few days. Building and maintenance of VITAL are easy, cost-effective, and fast than the traditional ventilator. Although it will not replace current ventilators in the hospital, it is intended to last 3-4 months as it is tailored for coronavirus patients. 

Positive Pressure Helmet by Aerospace Valley

The partnership of Armstrong Flight Research Centre (NASA), Antelope Valley Hospital, The Spaceship Company (TSC), Antelope Valley College, and Task Force members of the Antelope Valley was aimed to solve the issue of medical equipment shortages.

The result of their efforts is an oxygen helmet that will treat COVID-19 patients. It works like a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine that forces oxygen into the low-functioning lungs of the patient. After successful testing of the helmet at Antelope Valley Hospital, the Spaceship company produced more positive pressure helmets and submitted a request to the FDA for emergency use authorization. 

Surface Decontamination System

Although the development and production of a small, economical and potable device for decontaminating spaces started in 2015, it can now be used for the current pandemic. Through the partnership with Ohio company Emergency Products and research, engineers at Glenn Research Centre, NASA, Ohio, designed this product for decontaminating ambulances and more spaces within an hour. 

AMBUStat kills airborne and surface viruses in police cars and ambulances. After proper research, NASA will maximize its effectiveness on COVID-19.

NASA always put efforts to improve our quality of life on Earth. Its advanced technologies for air filtration, water purification, telemedicine, kidney dialysis etc. ensure a healthy life on Earth. The involvement of experts from NASA in producing targeted medical equipment for COVID-19 will provide relief to medical staff and healthcare service providers. 

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