Since publicly announcing our COVID-19 ventilator project one week ago, we’ve made great progress on every front — so we wanted to share some quick updates.
Our team is literally working around the clock, seven days a week on this project. Each day, we are building and testing units, evaluating potential design improvements, reviewing our work with and asking questions of dozens of doctors and medical device experts, and more. We are focused on a very simple, practical and robust design, and most of all… ease of manufacturing. We want to get units out the door and into the hands of healthcare workers ASAP.
We have submitted our application for Emergency Use Authorization for our device. In all of our conversations with local, state, and federal governments, we’ve experienced a shared goal of getting materials to the hospitals that so urgently need assistance, and a willingness to work as hard and as quickly as possible to meet that goal.
On Friday, we brought one of our prototype units to Sacramento, where we presented the design to California Governor Gavin Newsom and his team at the Emergency Medical Services Authority, led by Dr. David Duncan. We were grateful for the encouraging words from the Governor and Dr. Duncan — and even more grateful for the concrete feedback their team offered to guide us in our shared quest to make sure that these devices can help patients as soon as possible.
Today @Virgin_Orbit brought their newly designed ventilator to @Cal_OES!— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) April 3, 2020
This ventilator is made with easy to find parts, will run for months, and is powered by a windshield wiper motor. They start production next week. #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/BKANjOAURQ
Our testing and external evaluations show that we remain on track towards our goal of creating a low-cost, easy-to-use, highly scalable device that can provide ventilatory support for the care of individuals who require mechanical ventilation.
Final production timelines will depend on the completion of testing and on our ongoing conversations with regulators, but we aspire to hit a production rate of one hundred per week within a week or so, doubling that within a week, and then doubling again in the subsequent weeks. We intend to build them at a cost at least an order of magnitude lower than more sophisticated ventilators. Our effort has focused on immediate scalability, prioritizing speed over complexity.
Since our announcement, we’ve been truly overwhelmed by the global outpouring of messages from people wondering how they can help. We’ve received notes from around the world, including dozens of companies who are interested in manufacturing these devices. We are profoundly grateful to all who have written in.
We are working to get back to people as quickly as possible — with the goal of bringing several other manufacturers online as soon as we can do so in a way ensures the rigorous quality control and regulatory compliance that are rightfully necessary in the fields of both medical devices and aerospace.
We aren’t the only ones working on devices like this. The idea of building a simple mechanical device that essentially automates the use of existing manual resuscitators such as Ambu-bags has been around for a while, and there are many groups working to quickly mature, test, produce, and deploy such devices.
Our hats are off to the hardworking teams at universities like MIT, Rice, and the University of Toronto, and at open source initiatives like Protofy.xyz in Spain and Open Source Ventilator Ireland. We cannot say enough about the incredible support we have received from the University of California Irvine Medical and the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Govind Rajan and Dr. Brian Wong are true rock stars! Meeting this moment will require clever practical ideas and building, building and more building. If you’ve been kind enough to spare a good thought for our crew, we encourage you to do the same for all of these groups, too.
Thanks for your support. Stay safe. Don’t stop social distancing. Wash your hands. Be well!
And for anyone interested in manufacturing or procuring our ventilators, please refer to virginorbit.com/ventilators.