- Parabolic Arc
- May 26, 2023
Virgin Orbit Designs New Mass Producible Ventilator of COVID-19 Patients
LONG BEACH, Calif., March 30, 2020 (Virgin Orbit PR — Virgin Orbit has developed a new mass-producible bridge ventilator to help in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Virgin Orbit team has been consulting with the Bridge Ventilator Consortium (BVC), led by the University of California Irvine (UCI) and the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), a group formed to spawn and nurture efforts to build producible, simple ventilators to aid in the current COVID-19 crisis.
Pending clearance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Virgin Orbit aims to commence production at its Long Beach manufacturing facility in early April, sprinting to deliver units into the hands of first responders and healthcare professionals as soon as possible.
As the COVID-19 crisis worsens and the paucity of medical equipment becomes more and more clear, the Virgin Orbit team is strongly motivated to do all that we can to help. On a normal day, we’re building rockets and other equipment for space launch; we are not medical doctors nor are we usually manufacturers of medical devices. But we do have a team of incredibly innovative and agile thinkers — experts in designing, fabricating, programming, testing — who are eager to lend a hand.
After contacting Governor Gavin Newsom last week, Virgin Orbit was directed by his office to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (CEMSA) and put in contact with the BVC.
The BVC is a team of brilliant doctors, medical device experts, and researchers at UCI and UT Austin who are working around the clock, sharing ideas across a broad national and international network to share best practices and design insights and to accelerate progress on solutions to this equipment shortage.
Today, complex, high-end, ICU-capable ventilators are sometimes the only option available for moderate cases — for people who don’t necessarily need intensive care or have partially recovered. By supplying “bridge” ventilators, Virgin Orbit’s device can free up those critical resources for the most ill.
“We face a slow-motion Dunkirk, and getting ventilators out there is very important to save lives,” said Dr. Brian J.F. Wong, assistant chairman of otolaryngology at UCI. “The demand outstrips supply, so it is important the government, industry, academia, non-profits, and the community work together to identify solutions, and design and construct them as fast as possible.”
Virgin Orbit engineers have taken rapid scaling into account from the beginning of the design process, taking advantage of the most common and robust manufacturing and assembly processes. The company’s aim is to have a functioning, deployable bridge ventilator in production in early April. Virgin Orbit would continue on to rapidly scale up to mass production in its Long Beach facility, in addition to potentially activating other manufacturers as soon as the new device is reproducible and production-ready.
“We are all heartbroken each night as we turn on the news and see the predicament facing doctors and nurses as they heroically work to save lives,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. “I have never seen our team working harder. Never seen ideas moving quicker from design to prototype. We are hopeful that this device can help as we all prepare for the challenges ahead.”
About Virgin Orbit
Virgin Orbit builds and operates the most flexible and responsive satellite launcher ever invented: LauncherOne, a dedicated launch service for commercial and government-built small satellites. LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and will be air-launched from our modified 747-400 carrier aircraft – allowing us to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs. Virgin Orbit’s systems are currently in an advanced stage of testing, with initial orbital launches expected soon. To learn more or to apply to join Virgin Orbit’s talented and growing team, visit virginorbit.com.
17 responses to “Virgin Orbit Designs New Mass Producible Ventilator of COVID-19 Patients”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Good to see they are finally following the lead of SpaceX that started working on this over a week ago.
Well, it is certainly a simple device. I just wonder if these would really help. I suppose it’s just a “bridge” until a more capable ventilator frees up.
Not necessarily. Early ventilators were quite simple devices without all the bells and whistles of the current devices. One was powered by a windshield wiper motor. At the extreme lower end, a hand operated bellows could keep someone alive. How long a shift would you work to keep one of your parents alive?
Yes. Take a look at historical pictures of so-called “iron lungs” from the polio era. A lot of sufferers from that recurring pandemic wound up in these things for the rest of their lives. And these were decidedly not fancy-dan devices.
So what? Charles Lindbergh didn’t see Germany and Japan as threats to America, but when the wae started he did his part to win it.
Of course, but he just keeps plowing forward. But then you should never listen to the advice of someone outside of their area of expertise. BTW, although the media hasn’t reported on it the U.S. military has been helping in Italy.
Press Release: Humanitarian Assistance Program support to Italy
March 25, 2020
Hope you are staying safe. My thoughts and prayers go out to Italy.
As I spent a generally very pleasant 16 months working there as an expatriate in the late 1970’s, I also wish Italy all the best, especially Milan.
I applaud what Virgin, and other companies like them, are trying to do. But this just begs bigger questions.
Why are we relying on the billionaires to save us? Where is the coordinated response from the Federal Government? Why are states bidding against each other for desperately needed medical equipment?
To me this indicates a lack of leadership in this Administration. Unfortunately it’s starting to look like hundreds of thousands of Americans will pay for this with their lives.
No, it recognizes the historic strength of America’s economy, private industry. If you waited for the government to build them they will still be having planning committees when this virus is ancient history. Just look at the SLS to see what government built is…
It actually demonstrates leadership, rather than a lack of it.
New York begs to differ.
Do you honestly think a government run factory will build them any faster?
On the contrary. Trump is eschewing the one-size-fits-all-mandate-from-the-top model of government healthcare intervention that worked so well for us under Obama. Instead, he’s leaving local and state authorities to deal with things in their own ways that are, at least in theory, more responsive to specific local and state needs and circumstances. Results have generally been good.
As always under federalism, some states and localities will do better at dealing with the crisis while others will righteously screw the pooch. Thus far, unsurprisingly, the least effective “dealers” with Covid-19 have been Andrew Cuomo and Bill DeBlasio in New York whose serial stupidities and derelictions have won for their “grateful” constituents half or more of all the Covid-19 cases and deaths in the entire nation. These guys are now giving the erstwhile brain-dead Democratic “leadership” of New Orleans and Louisiana, respectively, during Hurricane Katrina a real run for their money as the most thumb-fingered mishandlers of a natural disaster in U.S. history.
Trump seems to be taking a page from FDR’s organization of the War Production Board during WW2. This was a group comprising the CEO’s of the largest manufacturing companies in the United States. The government told them what it needed built and in what quantity and left it to them to “make it so.” It worked pretty well.
Of course matters are complicated these days by the fact that, rather than a unitary federal government customer as there was for munitions during WW2,there are also the 50 states, and countless cities, town and territories, many of which have mutually incompatible standards and rules about anything medical and all of which the relevant bureaucracies seem willing to defend to the death – even when the deaths in question are those of their fellow citizens.
Trump does the best he can to moderate the worst of the idiocy, but there are limits. Short of taking the worst of these obstructive morons, en masse, out to a slit trench somewhere and machine-gunning them all, it’s hard to see exactly what less draconian solution might work as well. Trump does what he can, but – Leftist cant to the contrary notwithstanding – he’s not actually Hitler.
“Results have generally been good.” I think that New York would beg to differ based on the situtation they’re dealing with and the fact they can’t get the medical supplies they need because they’re competing against states that don’t have the medical crisis (yet) that New York does.
But those states do have their own medical crisis. And because New Yorkers are fleeing the city like rats leaving a sinking ship those crisis are likely going to get worst, not better.
It is sad NYC is so arrogant they expect the rest of America to sacrifice the lives of their residents just because New York was not prepared for it and was slow in reacting to it.
New York’s situation is mainly an NYC situation and is almost entirely of its own making. The Governor and Mayor both ridiculed and defied Trump’s travel bans for weeks. Stupid and petty decisions by government functionaries have been responsible for most of the Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. to this point.
“…worked so well for us under Obama”. From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus. And remind us, how many were dead before it was even declared a public health crisis?
As someone who teaches in the area of public relations I agree. The U.S. government depends far too much on private news organizations to tell its story. In this age of social media that is no longer a rational strategy.