Formula 1

Mercedes breathing aid device gets approval from government to use

2 Mins read
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

The breathing aid developed in record time by Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, has been approved and will be used for patients in the UK with coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic remains as a serious problem for everyone. While in China things are starting to be less drastic, countries like the United States have confirmed more cases, while Italy has the highest number of deaths.

In response to this, several Formula 1 teams have joined together and committed to using their technological and engineering skills to create health services to combat this virus, announcing the ‘Project Pitlane’.

Mercedes had already created a breathing device by the name Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), created in conjunction with Mercedes F1’s high-performance division, the Mercedes-AMG High-Performance Powertrain. They were also assisted by mechanical engineering students from University College London (UCL).

This respiratory system has already been used in patients in the intensive care area of hospitals in China and Italy, and now it is expected to be used in the UK, the country’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has already given its approval for their use. However, 100 respirators will be used in clinical trials at the UCLH before distribution.

CPAP Breathing Aid

The breathing aid has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to help Covid-19 patients with serious lung infections to breathe more easily when oxygen alone is insufficient.

This breathing aid was produced within a rapid timeframe – it took fewer than one-hundred hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device. One-hundred devices are to be delivered to UCLH for clinical trials, with rapid roll-out to hospitals around the country ahead of the predicted surge in Covid-19 hospital admissions.

Credit: Mercedes-AMG F1

“The Formula 1 community has shown an impressive response to the call for support, coming together in the ‘Project Pitlane’ collective to support the national need at this time across a number of different projects. We have been proud to put our resources at the service of UCL to deliver the CPAP project to the highest standards and in the fastest possible timeframe.” said Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High-Performance Powertrains

Fifty per cent of patients who received CPAP in Italy did not require invasive mechanical ventilation, according to the UCL. And the data gathered so far has helped to further improve the device, as the professor of mechanical engineering, Tim Baker added, “Given the urgent need, we are thankful that we were able to reduce a process that could take years down to a matter of days.

From being given the brief, we worked all hours of the day, disassembling and analysing an off-patent device. Using computer simulations, we improved the device further to create a state-of-the-art version suited to mass production.”

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