F1 team Mercedes makes breathing device designs available in virus fight

F1 team Mercedes has made designs of a new breathing device freely available in the fight against the coronavirus (AFP Photo/James Tye)

London (AFP) - 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.

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."