The UCL-Ventura breathing aid's design & manufacturing process is now only a click away for manufacturers around the globe to download at no cost. Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 will deliver 10,000 of these rapidly-manufactured breathing aids to the UK government to help tackle the COVID-19 crisis.
A few days back, Mercedes-AMG High-Performance Powertrains (HPP), the engine development wing of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team and University College London (UCL), a public research university in Britain, designed the UCL-Ventura breathing aid – a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device that helps COVID-19 patients with lung infections breathe more easily when an oxygen mask alone is insufficient. According to UCL Hospital's (UCLH) Professor Mervyn Singer, 'These devices can help save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a precious resource, are used only for the most severely ill. We & others are finding that a significant proportion of patients treated with CPAP can avoid mechanical ventilation.'
Now, after successful patient trials at the UCLH, all manufacturing details of the UCL-Ventura, ranging from its final designs, materials, tools, & kit to the fabrication time for each part, are available online for free download to manufacturers across the globe. However, any third party must have the necessary local regulatory approval for its manufacture and use. By making this information public, both UCL & Mercedes-AMG F1 hope to help the global response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Like all CPAP machines, the UCL-Ventura also works by pushing an air-oxygen mix into the mouth & nose at a continuous pressure. This keeps the airways open and increases the amount of oxygen entering the bloodstream. However, a CPAP device is not to be confused with a ventilator. While a CPAP device (like the UCL-Ventura) offers non-invasive breathing support, ventilators are meant for more severe conditions, especially when a patient can't breathe on his/her own and needs air to be delivered directly into the lungs.
Both UCL and Mercedes-AMG F1 received heavy support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) at the UCL Hospital (UCLH) for the development of the UCL-Ventura prototype. In fact, within 100 hours of the initial planning meet, the first device prototype was ready for testing. A more efficient version (Mark II) of the device was then developed, which has already received its approval from the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
To meet the UK government's order of 10,000 UCL-Ventura units, Mercedes-AMG HPP's technology centre in Brixworth, Northamptonshire (UK) is currently being used to produce up to 1,000 units a day. In fact, the entire Brixworth facility has been repurposed to meet this demand.