Formula One engineers focused their efforts on creating a new ventilator or a breathing apparatus for coronavirus patients that would take only days to complete and, best of all, be available in just days to come.

F1 Ventilators
(Photo : Screenshot from Twitter of @Jefferson_MFG)

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New Breathing Apparatus Used For Coronavirus Patients

The team over at Mercedes teamed up with the academics in the University College London in which they were able to produce in just four days. The very first of its kind aptly named CPAP device or "continuous positive airway pressure." About 100 of these devices are now going to be tested in clinical trials in a hospital in north London where patients who suffer from the coronavirus will be tested out. 

The CPAP device works like this; it pushes air and much-needed oxygen into a mask to inflate the patient's lungs, which can be an alternative for people who are all too frail to undergo invasive ventilation procedures. A positive note as well is that it has already been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency or the MHRA. 

It will complete its clinical trial only to prove that it helps patients by the end of the week at the University College London Hospital, after this, it will soon be distributed to all corners of the globe if and when possible. 

The technique is not new but has been used in Italy already where the ventilators are in dire supply. 

Ventilator rationing as they call it has already begun at one of London's hospitals, with the management ruling out that only patients who have a "reasonable chance of survival" should be allowed to have them. 

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How Did They Do This?

The Mercedes-AMG High-Performance Powertrains team was able to deconstruct an existing CPAP machine that was previously used to treat sleep apnoea, which has fallen out of patent. Then improving the design and have the tools and equipment to construct over 300 for NHS.

This also gives us other formula teams a chance to contribute, and if ever they do chip in, that 300 a day would soar up to over 1000 a day within a week's notice.

Professor Mervyn Singer, who is a critical care consultant at UCLH, has this to say, "These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill. 

'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.' 

The collaboration is named "Project Pitlane" - a collective of UK-based Formula One teams who are responding to the Government's call for aid with the manufacture of medical apparatuses that could help out in the fight against COVID-19.

There is still a problem. However, patients who are elderly or those classified as "at risk" patients with underlying immune or respiratory conditions may not be as useful to them or not strong enough to push the needed air.

A consultant said from the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust told the Daily Telegraph, 'With this infection you need a couple of weeks on a ventilator, so with resources being used for such a long time, you have to be reasonably sure the person is going to get better. 

'Delaying their death for two or three weeks is not the right thing for them or for society.' 

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