(TMU) — A collaboration between Mercedes Formula One and a group of clinicians and engineers has led to the creation of a new type of breathing aid for COVID-19 patients.
The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) breathing aid delivers oxygen to patients’ lungs without the need for a ventilator and has commonly been used to treat sleep apnea. Now, an improvement on the device, is allowing those suffering from COVID-19 to breathe easier without needing to be intubated.
The device, which was created within 100 hours of the first conceptual meeting, has been widely used with success on patients in China and Italy and has already been approved for use by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), reports the BBC.
Engineers at University College London (UCL) and clinicians at UCL’s NHS Foundation Trust worked around the clock with experts from the UK-based Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains to reverse engineer the device based on the CPAP system.
Forty of the devices are already being rolled out to University College Hospital (UCLH) and three other hospitals in London. If the trials are successful, the German automotive giant will be able to mass-produce the CPAP machines at a rate of 1,000 per day.
UCLH critical care consultant Professor Mervyn Singer said:
“These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill.
While they will be tested at UCLH first, we hope they will make a real difference to hospitals across the UK by reducing demand on intensive care staff and beds, as well as helping patients recover without the need for more invasive ventilation.”
Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, said:
“The Formula One community has shown an impressive response to the call for support … we have been proud to put our resources at the service of UCL to deliver the CPAP project to the highest standards and in the fastest possible timeframe.”
In the meantime, VentilatorChallengeUK—a consortium of engineering firms including Airbus, Ford, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Siemens, and a range of Formula One racing teams—has secured orders of over 10,000 ventilators to be provided to the U.K.’s healthcare system. Production will kick off in a week.
Dick Elsy, chief executive of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said:
“This consortium brings together some of the most innovative companies in the world.
They are working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people in many countries.”
This comes as the U.K. government continues to struggle with the pandemic and top officials warn that emergency measures could remain in place for as long as six months.
There are currently 9,000 people hospitalized with CoViD-19 in the U.K., a sharp rise from 6,000 on Friday. As of Sunday, the total number of people who have died from the virus in the U.K. reached at least 1,408.