The Mercedes Formula One Team are developing ventilators for the NHS to keep patients out of intensive care units (ICU).
Clinicians and mechanical engineers from University College London (UCL) worked with Mercedes in creating a continuous positive airway pressure, CPAP) which the NHS has approved.
China and Italy have already used this technology, which helps patients with serious lung infections caused by coronavirus.
Italy reported that around 50% of patients that were given CPAP did not need to go into ICU and be intubated and placed on a ventilator.
Professor Mervyn Singer, a critical care consultant at UCL Hospital 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 UCL Hospital 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.”
UCLH have received forty devices and to three more hospitals in the capital. If trials are successful then 1,000 CPAP machines can be produced daily by Mercedes AMG HPP next week.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has given approval for their use.
Professor Rebecca Shipley, Director of UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, told the BBC, “Normally medical device development would take years but we’ve done that in days because we went back to a simple existing device and ‘reverse engineered’ it in order to be able to produce them quickly and at scale.”
UCLH critical care consultant Professor Mervyn Singer said, “These devices are a halfway house between a simple oxygen mask and invasive mechanical ventilation which requires patients to be sedated.
“They will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill.”
Ventilator machines which are used to keep patients breathing are now restricted to those who will survive on medical grounds.
The NHS said, “very poorly patients with coronavirus may need to be on a ventilator for extended periods.
“for some patients this would not be in their best interests.”