BARDA Funds Development of Next-Generation Portable Ventilators

A $6.7 million contract announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will help fill the need for domestically manufactured, low-cost, user-friendly and flexible next-generation ventilators. This contract to Newport Medical Instruments of Costa Mesa, Calif., is for three years.

Planning for a severe influenza pandemic and other biothreats indicates a need for such ventilators. The ventilators are intended to provide respiratory support for large numbers of severely ill patients when mass casualties and shortages of experienced care providers may be expected, such as during a severe influenza pandemic or other public health emergency.

The contract supports development of ventilators that utilize advanced technology, are easier for healthcare providers to use without special training, and can be used for a wider patient population. The advanced technology also considers portability and environmental factors, cost, and suitability for stockpiling.

Consistent with The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise Review which HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released in August, funding the development of a next generation ventilator will enhance preparedness by providing a flexible, robust, and affordable response capability for all hazards.

The contract calls for a cost of less than $3,000 per complete unit. Portable ventilators with all the developmental features BARDA requires currently range from $6,000 to $30,000 per unit. The contract also promotes domestic production, including pilot development, of the fully kitted, next-generation portable ventilators.

BARDA, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive integrated portfolio approach to the advanced research and development, stockpile acquisition, innovation, and manufacturing infrastructure building of the necessary vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products such as ventilators for public health medical emergencies including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, pandemic influenza, and other emerging infectious diseases.

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