May 12, 2020

FDA Approval Granted for Simplified Ventilator Design From Particle Physics Community

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

In a little over a month, a team of physicists and engineers from around the world took a simplified ventilator design from concept all the way through approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This major milestone marks the ventilator as safe for use in the United States under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization, which helps support public health during a crisis.

The Mechanical Ventilator Milano, or MVM, is the brainchild of physicist Cristiano Galbiati. The Gran Sasso Science Institute and Princeton University professor, who normally leads a dark matter experiment in Italy called DarkSide-20k, found himself in lockdown in Milan, a city hit hard by COVID-19. Hearing reports of ventilator shortages and wanting to help, Galbiati reached out to fellow researchers to develop a ventilator with minimal components that could be quickly produced using commonly available parts.

“The sense of crisis was palpable, and I knew the availability of ventilators was critical,” said Galbiati, who obtained his Ph.D from the University of Milan. “We had been doing some complicated projects in physics that required working with gases, and I thought it our duty to find a way to push oxygen into the lungs of patients.”

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