FDA includes ventilator developed by NASA in ventilator EUA

May 4, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration included, under the ventilator emergency use authorization (EUA), a ventilator developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which is tailored to treat patients with COVID-19. The ventilator was added to the list of authorized ventilators, ventilator tubing connectors and ventilator accessories under the ventilator EUA that was issued in response to concerns relating to insufficient supply and availability of FDA-cleared ventilators for use in health care settings to treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FDA included the NASA VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally) under the ventilator EUA. VITAL is intended to last three to four months and is specifically tailored for patients with COVID-19, by providing respiratory support for patients that are experiencing respiratory failure or insufficiency. The device is designed to be built with components outside the current medical device supply chain and therefore, does not impact the existing supply chain of currently made ventilators. Like all ventilators, VITAL requires patients to be sedated and an oxygen tube inserted into their airway to breathe. This medical device does not replace current hospital ventilators, which can last years and are built to address a broader range of medical issues.

The FDA continues to engage with both traditional medical device manufacturers and other stakeholders about ways we can facilitate a ramping up of production of ventilators. On March 24, 2020, the FDA issued its ventilator EUA to allow, for the duration of this pandemic, for the emergency use in health care settings of certain ventilators, anesthesia gas machines modified for use as ventilators, positive pressure breathing devices modified for use as ventilators, ventilator tubing connectors and ventilator accessories that the FDA determines meet specified criteria for safety, performance and labeling. The devices that are eligible for inclusion under the EUA are those that are not currently marketed in the U.S, or those that are currently marketed in the U.S. but a modification is made to the device that would trigger the requirement that a manufacturer submit a new premarket notification (510(k)) to the FDA, as discussed in the agency’s Ventilator Enforcement Policy.

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