Coronavirus breakthrough: Mercedes F1 team develop breathing aid to ease pressure on NHS

Coronavirus breakthrough: Mercedes F1 team develop breathing aid to ease pressure on NHS

A team from University College London (UCL) and University College London Hospital (UCLH) have worked with Mercedes Formula One to make a machine that works to deliver oxygen to the lungs without the need for a ventilator. Officials hailed the breakthrough saying it could “save lives” and keep patients off ventilators. 

The team adapted and improvedexisting continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which are already used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China in a process known as reverse engineering.

The new breathing aid bridges the gap between an oxygen mask and the need for full ventilation, which requires sedation and an invasive procedure. 

UCL said the device has now been recommended for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which approves medical devices in the UK.

The adapted device was developed in under 100 hours from an initial meeting to production of the first CPAP.

Some 100 devices are now being delivered to UCLH for clinical trials, followed by the potential for rapid roll-out to hospitals around the UK.

Reports from Italy suggest around half of patients given CPAP have avoided the need for invasive mechanical ventilation.

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.”

Professor David Lomas, vice-provost for health at UCL, said: “This breakthrough has the potential to save many lives and allow our frontline NHS staff to keep patients off ventilators.

“It is, quite simply, a wonderful achievement to have gone from first meeting to regulator approval in just 10 days. It shows what can be done when universities, industry and hospitals join forces for the national good.”

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Published at Mon, 30 Mar 2020 06:55:00 +0000