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Mercedes Formula One Collaborate With Engineers To Create Breathing Aids For Coronavirus Patients

Jake Massey

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Mercedes Formula One Collaborate With Engineers To Create Breathing Aids For Coronavirus Patients

Featured Image Credit: James Tye/UCL

Mercedes Formula One have collaborated with engineers and clinicians to create breathing aids for coronavirus patients.

The first device was produced within 100 hours of the project getting under way and has already been approved for use in the NHS.

The CPAP devices were made in less than a week. Credit: James Tye/UCL
The CPAP devices were made in less than a week. Credit: James Tye/UCL

The breathing aid, known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), delivers oxygen to the lungs without the need for a ventilator. It has been widely used on Covid-19 patients in China and Italy, as it can help to free up space in intensive care.

University College London (UCL) engineers worked around the clock with clinicians at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and Mercedes Formula One to reverse engineer a simple existing off-patent CPAP device.

The design was copied and adapted for mass production and 100 devices are to be delivered to UCLH for clinical trials. If these trials are successful, Mercedes-AMG-HPP will be able to make 1,000 of the CPAP devices a 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."

The devices could help to free up space in intensive care units. Credit: James Tye/UCL
The devices could help to free up space in intensive care units. Credit: James Tye/UCL

CPAP devices work by pushing a steady flow of air and oxygen into the mouth and nose of patients at a pressure which enables the lungs to stay open and thus take in more oxygen. The mask must create a tight seal to deliver the oxygen at pressure, reducing the amount of effort required for patients to breathe in. However, it is less invasive than a ventilator, which requires heavy sedation and the insertion of a tube into the airway.

It is vital though with CPAP devices that the seal around the mask remains tight, as contagious respiratory infections such as Covid-19 could be transmitted via any leaks.

Professor Rebecca Shipley, Director of UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, said: "It's been a privilege to work closely with our clinical colleagues and with doctors leading the Covid-19 response in China and Italy.

"This close contact has helped us to define the need and respond with technology that we hope will support the NHS in the weeks and months to come."

It's okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD's aim with our Coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we're facing. For more information from the World Health Organisation on Coronavirus, click here.

Topics: uk news, Coronavirus, NHS, Health

Jake Massey
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