DRIVe seeks abstract submissions for innovative technologies to improve lung support for severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) patients

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Now accepting submissions for simpler, safer lung support technology for severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) patients.

BARDA’s Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe) opened a new area of interest (AOI) under the Easy Broad Agency Announcement (EZ-BAA) solicitation to develop innovative technologies that provide oxygen to people with severe ARDS who do not respond to mechanical ventilation. DRIVe seeks to support approaches that do not strain the lungs and do not rely on mechanical ventilation or positive pressure systems.

ARDS is a life-threatening respiratory condition that occurs when the lungs sustain a serious injury (such as damage caused by infectious agents or due to physical injury), resulting in fluid building up in the small air sacs (called alveoli), which can diminish the lungs’ ability to provide vital organs with enough oxygen. Around 200,000 ARDS cases are reported each year in the U.S., with an estimated additional 33 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients developing the syndrome during their hospital stay since 2020. ARDS is fatal in approximately 40 percent of cases and can cause long-term lung scarring and respiratory impairment. Moreover, mechanical ventilation used as first-line intervention can damage the lungs in almost 25 percent of patients—sometimes permanently.

When patients do not respond to mechanical ventilation, they are placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a last resort treatment option. ECMO technology routes blood outside the body and pumps it through a device that removes carbon dioxide and adds oxygen before returning blood to the body. Unlike mechanical ventilation, ECMO protects the lungs from secondary tissue injury. Despite its benefits, ECMO is costly, high-risk, and labor- and resource-intensive. Although indications for and use of ECMO have expanded greatly during the 2009 H1N1 and current COVID-19 pandemics, ECMO capabilities remain limited to specialized centers. Many who may benefit from ECMO are not able to access this intervention.

In the new EZ-BAA AOI #14, “Healing Lungs: Simpler, Safer Lung Support for Severe ARDS Patients,” BARDA seeks to address gaps in treatment for severe ARDS by requesting abstracts for technologies that enable oxygen delivery and gas exchange for ARDS patients, prevent secondary lung injury, and do not resort to mechanical ventilation or positive air pressure systems.

Under this program, BARDA will support innovative solutions such as injectable compounds or products (e.g., synthetic and mammalian cell-derived oxygen carriers) as well as technological advances that would make ECMO simpler to operate, safer for patients, and more widely accessible. ECMO design innovations that reduce the chance of blood clot formation and hemorrhage as well as efforts to miniaturize the ECMO circuit into a portable unit are of particular interest.

Abstracts may be submitted until 12 PM ET on February 03, 2023. For additional information, see solicitation AOI #14: Healing Lungs: Simpler, Safer Lung Support for Severe ARDS Patients in the Special Instructions 020 Issuance of the EZ-BAA (BAA-20-100-SOL-0002), and visit 


BARDA's Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe) established the Easy Broad Agency Announcement (EZ-BAA) to streamline the application process for the review of transformative products and technologies to protect the U.S. from health security threats. Since its inception in 2018, BARDA DRIVe's EZ-BAA solicitation has received hundreds of abstract submissions annually, with awards made in as few as 30 days. The EZ-BAA has helped transform the solicitation process and provides innovators, entrepreneurs, and organizations with a simplified and rapid mechanism to propose ideas to the U.S. government. The application process is both business-friendly and easy to follow.

Last Updated: July 19, 2022

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