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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2014
Contact: HHS Press Office
202-690-6343

HHS spurs innovation to develop next-generation portable ventilator

Low-cost, user-friendly ventilators needed for pandemics, routine care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will sponsor the advanced development of a next-generation portable ventilator to help fill the need for portable, low-cost, user-friendly and flexible ventilators in a pandemic or other public health emergency. The new ventilator will be developed under a three year, $13.8 million contract with Philips Respironics of Murrysville, Pennsylvania.

The project will be overseen by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

“In pandemics and other emergencies, doctors must have medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, and critical equipment such as mechanical ventilators at the ready in order to save lives,” said BARDA Director Robin Robinson, Ph.D.

In a severe influenza pandemic and potentially in other public health emergencies, a large number of severely ill patients would require mechanical ventilation. This number could overwhelm the capacity of the health care system to provide such care, both in the number of ventilators available and staff trained to operate them.

“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, Ph.D.

The innovative ventilator in development will leverage advanced technology to reduce the size and cost and will be designed in a way that doctors, nurses and other health professionals can operate without special training. The next-generation ventilator also will be designed to be manufactured quickly to meet a surge in the number of patients who need ventilators if more ventilators are needed than could be stockpiled.

Under today’s contract, the ventilator will be required to meet the needs of everyone from infants to the elderly. To make the new ventilator suitable for stockpiling, the portable equipment must be low-cost. Ventilators with all the required features currently cost from $6,000 to $30,000 per unit.

Under today’s agreement, Philips Healthcare will develop a next-generation ventilator that could be stockpiled by the federal government, including accessories for children and elderly patients. The contract includes an option to purchase 10,000 completely kitted, initial production ventilators for $32.8 million.

In addition to aiding in response to a public health emergency, the next-generation ventilator in development can have important implications for routine care. The modernized features, agility, and ease of use can improve patient care for triage in the field or advanced treatment in the hospital.

HHS is the principal federal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. To learn more about HHS, visit www.hhs.gov and to stay up to date on flu, visit www.flu.gov.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) leads HHS in preparing the nation to respond to and recover from adverse health effects of emergencies, supporting communities’ ability to withstand adversity, strengthening health and response systems, and enhancing national health security. To learn more about ASPR and preparedness, response and recovery from the health impacts of disasters, visit the HHS public health and medical emergency website, www.phe.gov.  

Within ASPR, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) develops and procures medical countermeasures – vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and medical equipment – that address the public health and medical consequences of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) accidents, incidents and attacks, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases.

For more information about BARDA and the advanced research and development of medical countermeasures, visit www.medicalcountermeasures.gov.  Contract opportunities and awards are announced at www.fbo.gov.

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Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: September 17, 2014

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