Teams at University College London (UCL), University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and the Mercedes-AMG team have designed and built a breathing aid to keep Covid-19 patients out of intensive care. And after working around the clock since 18th March, the aids have been sent to hospitals in London for clinical trials.
While companies including Ford, Airbus and Rolls-Royce are producing 10,000 ventilators for Britain to help combat the virus, producing a breathing aid can help patients recover without the need for a ventilator.
Right now, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are being used in China and Italy as a less invasive method to deliver air and oxygen to patients’ lungs, but the device is short supply in Britain.
UCLH critical care consultant Professor Mervyn Singer stated:
These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill.
There is a concern of possible spray droplets from patients’ airways on to clinical staff if the breathing aids had any small leaks, but the risk of transmitting the virus through such droplets should be “very low”, as reported by Professor Singer, if care staff were wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
Mercedes’ breathing aid was produced fewer than 100 hours from the initial meeting to the production of the first device, and the company can produce 1000 a day within a week. 100 units of the new breathing aid will be delivered to University College London Hospital (UCLH) for trials, before being rolled out to other hospitals.
Besides the Mercedes F1 team, the team working on it also includes Oxford Optronix, a company that will manufacture the oxygen monitors for the new breathing aids.