UCL develops breathing aids for Covid-19 patients
University College London (UCL), with support from the UCL Hospital (UCLH) and Formula One, have developed life-saving breathing aids for the NHS in the UK
The breathing aid can help Covid-19 patients and has been approved for use in the NHS. It was developed by mechanical engineers at UCL and clinicians at UCLH.
The aid, also known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), has been extensively used in hospitals in Italy and China to help Covid-19 patients with serious lung infections to breathe more easily.
Since 18 March, engineers at UCL and UCLH have been working to reverse engineer a device that can be produced rapidly by the thousands. The device has now been recommended for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
The CPAP was produced within a rapid timeframe and took less than 100 hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device.
Mervyn Singer, UCLH Critical Care Consultant, said: “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.”
Professor Rebecca Shipley, Director of UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, added: “At UCL, we have an established ecosystem of partnerships spanning engineers, healthcare and industry ready to be mobilised in times of need. It’s been a privilege to work closely with our clinical colleagues and with doctors leading the Covid-19 response in China and Italy. This close contact has helped us to define the need and respond with technology that we hope will support the NHS in the weeks and months to come.”
Reports from Italy indicate that about 50 per cent of patients who get a CPAP have avoided the need for invasive mechanical ventilation.