HHS sponsors development of next-generation portable ventilator

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently signed a $13.8 million contract with Phillips Respironics of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, to develop a user-friendly, low-cost portable respiratory ventilator to be used in the event of a public health emergency.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will oversee the project, which was announced on Wednesday.

“An affordable portable ventilator will help us meet the needs of critically ill patients during a public health emergency, whether due to a naturally occurring pandemic or an act of bioterrorism,” BARDA Director Robin Robinson said.

In the case of a public health emergency, such as a severe influenza outbreak, a large number of patients may require mechanical ventilation. This could overwhelm the capacity of the healthcare system both in the number of ventilators available and staff trained to operate them.  

The new ventilator will meet the needs of everyone from infants to the elderly and will use advanced technology to reduce the size and cost while still being user-friendly to health professionals.

The contract includes an option for the government to purchase 10,000 initial production ventilators for $32.8 million from Phillips Healthcare.

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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