Formula One team Mercedes has made the designs of a new breathing device freely available to aid the fight against the coronavirus.
Mercedes worked on the designs in conjunction with University College London.
The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device helps patients with lung infections breathe more easily when an oxygen mask alone is insufficient.
CPAP devices are in short supply in British hospitals, so engineers at UCL and Mercedes-AMG HPP worked to reverse engineer a device that could be manufactured rapidly by the thousands.
The UCL-Ventura has now undergone patient evaluations at UCLH and across sister hospitals in the London area.
The designs of a new breathing aid developed by engineers at @ucl and Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, working with clinicians at @uclh, have been made freely available to support the global response to #COVID19 🙏https://t.co/CKueF9KyAE
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 7, 2020
After a British government order for up to 10,000, the devices are being produced at a rate of up to 1,000 a day at the HPP technology centre in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.
Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, said: “Since the project was announced, we have received an incredible number of enquiries about the CPAP device from around the world.
“Making the design and manufacturing specifications openly available will allow companies around the world to produce these devices at speed and at scale to support the global response to Covid-19.”
UCLH critical care consultant Professor Mervyn Singer (UCL Medicine) added: This week we have seen the UCL-Ventura help dozens of patients with Covid-19 breathe more easily.
“These devices can help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a precious resource, are used only for the most severely ill.
“We and others are finding that a significant proportion of patients treated with CPAP can avoid mechanical ventilation.”
It is a phenomenal achievement that they are arriving at hospitals only two weeks after the first prototype was built. It shows what can be done when universities, hospitals and industry work together for the national good.