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Coronavirus: inside story of how Mercedes F1 and academics fast-tracked life saving breathing aid

Coronavirus: inside story of how Mercedes F1 and academics fast-tracked life saving breathing aid

From: The Conversation UK, written by Clare Elwell, Professor of Medical Physics, Vice Dean for Impact, UCL Engineering, UCL.

With the coronavirus pandemic spreading to nearly every country in the world, the number of hospital patients needing respiratory support is becoming unprecedented. It’s not easy for manufacturers to quickly make huge numbers of extra ventilators so there is likely to be an imbalance in supply and demand for the necessary equipment to provide this support.

To alleviate this problem, a team of engineers from UCL (the university where I work) and Formula One engine maker Mercedes-AMG HPP have been working flat out to manufacture large numbers of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. This machine, similar to those commonly used to treat sleep apnea, can support patients with severe breathing problems, freeing up ventilators for the most critically ill.

As with all things coronavirus related, speed is of the essence. The team has pulled off the task of moving from reverse-engineering an original product and producing a new design, through testing and regulatory approval to full-scale production in under 10 days.

Within one month, 10,000 devices have been delivered to meet the UK government target, with Mercedes repurposing its entire facility in Brixworth, Northampton to produce 1,000 a day. The designs and manufacturing instructions have now been released, at no cost, to governments, manufacturers, academics and health experts around the world. Within a week they had been shared with more than 1,300 teams in 25 countries…more.

Read the full article on The Conversation website.

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