Monday 30 March 2020 2:51 pm

Coronavirus: Mercedes-designed ventilator gets approval for NHS use

Mercedes’ F1 team has designed a ventilator along with engineers and clinicians at University College London (UCL) that has been approved for use by the NHS.

Around 100 of the breathing aids, which were designed and produced within 100 hours of engineers’ first meetings, will now be distributed to UCL’s hospital for clinical trials.

Read more: UK coronavirus: Smiths bolsters production to build 10,000 ventilators

The ventilator, known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to help coronavirus patients with serious lung infections to breathe more easily.

Mercedes is one of a number of F1 teams collaborating on the so-called “Project Pitlane” to build ventilators for coronavirus patients.

The government has called on the UK’s largest industrial firms to come together to produce 30,000 new breathing aids in an attempt to prepare the NHS for a surge in cases of the respiratory disease.

One consortium, Ventilator Challenge UK, which comprises large firms such as Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Thales, GKN and Ford, has been tasked with making 10,000 pieces of breathing apparatus.

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“The consortium is now working at full speed to take the necessary steps in order to increase production of this design. Production will begin this week,” Ventilator Challenge UK said.

A number of firms involved in the consortium saw shares fall this morning, with engine maker Rolls-Royce dropping 12 per cent.

The Telegraph reported yesterday that the FTSE 100 firm’s revenue had collapsed recently due to wide-ranging travel bans and suspended flights.

Airlines have so-called “power by the hour” arrangements with Rolls-Royce, meaning they pay for the number of flight hours they make with the firm’s engines. 

Read more: McLaren joins industrial push to manufacture 10,000 ventilators

Engineer Meggitt, another consortium member, also saw shares fall nearly 14 per cent.

The firm, which cancelled its dividend on Friday, has seen a similar fall in demand for its aircraft components.