A new type of breathing aid medical systems has been developed by engineers at the University College London and Mercedes Formula 1. The innovation just bridges the gap between an oxygen mask and a full ventilator, such a combination will be extremely helpful for COVID-19 patients.
The unique research team includes clinicians and engineers, which have joined their efforts to create devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators (a limited resource now), are used only for the most severely ill.
Normally, the medics used a process called reverse engineering to adapt continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines in an effort to keep patients out of intensive care. But the new breathing aid becomes breakthrough, which has the potential to save thousands of lives globally and allow our frontline medical staff to keep patients off traditional ventilators.
As Mervyn Singer, a critical care consultant at UCLH, reiterates, the devices were developed in just days and 100 units are being delivered to the hospital for clinical trials in hopes of deploying them across the UK shortly.
If trials go well, up to 1,000 of the machines can be produced daily by Mercedes-AMG-HPP beginning in about a week, BBC reported.
“While they will be tested at UCLH 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,” Singer said.
Formula 1 engineers make their timely and innovative contribution to anti-virus fight
CPAP machines are critically important for patients with COVID-19. The breathing aid helps patients with serious lung infections to breathe more easily when oxygen alone is not enough.
According to the doctors, the new device is quite simply, a wonderful achievement to have gone from first meeting to regulator approval in just 10 days. In fact, it shows what can be done when universities, industry and hospitals join forces for the national good under the uneasy situation.
The adapted devices push a mix of oxygen and air into patients’ airways allowing their lungs to absorb more oxygen and reducing the effort needed to breathe in when the air sacs, or alveoli, have collapsed due to the illness.
However, Duncan Young, a professor of intensive care medicine at the University of Oxford, sounded a cautionary note on the new invention from the F1 engineers.
“The use of CPAP machines in patients with contagious respiratory infections is somewhat controversial as any small leaks around the mask could spray droplets of secretions on to attending clinical staff,” he said.
Singer explained that risk could be lowered if a tight seal is maintained on the mask and medical staff uses adequate personal protective equipment.