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COVID-19: Mercedes F1 team make breathing device design available

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Mercedes F1 Team have made the design of a breathing device that they helped to develop freely available to help with the fight against COVID-19.

The device is said to allow people with a lung infection breathe easier when an oxygen mask alone is not enough. Mercedes developed the machine in conjunction with University College London.

The idea of the device is to allow the respirators, which are in increasingly high demand, to be saved for only the seriously ill patients, according to UCL Hospital consultant Professor Mervyn Singer who said: “These devices help save lives by ensuring ventilators are used only for the most severely ill.”

The device, which has been named the ‘Continuous Positive Airway Pressure’ device was reverse engineered from a previous model in less than 100 hours. Last week it received regulatory approval. The new device reportedly consumes 70% less oxygen than the previous model.

The devices, which have 10,000 orders from the UK government already, are being mass produced at a rate of over 1,000 per day in the Mercedes F1 Engine design facility in Northamptonshire.

The equipment being used to manufacture these new devices is usually used to design pistons and turbochargers for the engine of an F1 car. The whole facility in Brixworth, Northamptonshire has been completely repurposed in order to create these devices.

This comes as part of a scheme used by all seven UK based formula one teams wherein they have committed to boosting the supply of critical care equipment in hospitals across the UK.

The blueprints to the design have been made available publicly and UCL Insitute of Healthcare Engineering director Professor Rebecca Shipley hopes that will help to “improve the resilience of healthcare systems.”

She said: “These life-saving devices are relatively simple to manufacture and can be produced quickly. We hope that, by making the blueprints publicly available, they can be used to improve the resilience of healthcare systems preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic globally.”

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