by Brendon Nafziger
, DOTmed News Associate Editor | September 30, 2010
The U.S. government is funding research into making cheap, easily stockpiled and easy-to-use ventilators for distribution in a mass casualty scenario, such as a devastating flu epidemic or bioweapon attack leaving thousands in need of respiratory support.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) said Wednesday it awarded a $6.7 million contract to ventilator manufacturers Newport Medical Instruments of Costa Mesa, Calif.
The hope of the government is to develop low-cost ventilators that can be used to help patients in situations in which there may not be many experienced care providers.
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The contract, which lasts three years, asks for costs to be less than $3,000 per completed unit. Full-featured, portable ventilators generally run from $6,000 to $30,000, BARDA said.