Yep, Mercedes F1 Helped Develop A Breathing Aid For COVID-19 Patients
A breathing aid designed to keep COVID-19 patients out of intensive care, and for which six-time Formula 1 Constructors’ Champion Mercedes-AMG F1 provided input, has been approved for use by the UK’s National Health Service, an official statement has confirmed.
The collaborative effort between mechanical engineers at University College London (UCL), clinicians at University College London Hospital (UCLH), and the Formula 1 champion’s engine division, Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrain (HPP) has worked to reverse engineer a device that can be produced quickly and in vast quantities.
The breathing aid, known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), has already been rolled out in hospitals across Italy and China for patients suffering with severe lung infections. Unlike traditional invasive ventilators, which deliver ‘breaths’ directly to the lungs via a tube placed into the patient’s windpipe, thus requiring heavy sedation, CPAP pushes an air-oxygen mix into the mouth and nose at a continuous rate, keeping airways open and increasing the amount of oxygen entering the lungs.
According to UCL statistics, half of the patients using CPAP in Italy no longer require invasive mechanical ventilation.
With the UK in short supply of such devices, CPAP has now been approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), though 100 examples will be undergo further clinical trials at UCLH before the device is rolled out to hospitals nation-wide in quick succession. So rapid is the turnaround that, less than 100 hours / four days after the initial meeting, production was already complete on the first device.
In further uplifting news, Mercedes F1 is also one of seven Grand Prix teams currently assisting the British government to combat the coronavirus by pooling its collective resources. The collective, which works under the ‘Project Pitlane’ banner, includes Haas, Racing Point, reigning champion Mercedes, and former Constructors’ Champions Red Bull Racing, McLaren, Renault and Williams.
“The Formula One 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,” states Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes-AMG HPP. “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.”
Over in Italy meanwhile, Ferrari and parent company Fiat have also been assisting the country’s Covid-19 retaliatory efforts. As well as proposed production of ventilators at or with the assistance of Maranello, the Agnelli dynasty behind Ferrari has already donated €10 million (around $10.7m USD) to the Italian Civil Protection Department and regional Specchio dei Tempi /La Stampa, and supplied the Italian Red Cross and ANPAS (the Italian National Association for Public Assistance) with a fleet of vehicles.
*Images courtesy of Mercedes-AMG