The breathing aid developed by the Mercedes Formula 1 team has gained regulatory approval for mass production with the UK government placing an initial order for 10,000 units.

Mercedes teamed up with University College London engineers and clinicians at its hospital operations to build a life-saving breathing aid in under a week to help in the fight against the coronavirus crisis.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, known as UCL-Ventura, is less intrusive than other respiratory equipment as it provides air to the lungs without needing a ventilator.

Following successful trails of the CPAP devices at University London College Hospital and three other London hospitals, the breathing aid has received regulatory approval with the UK government placing an initial order of 10,000 units.

Mercedes has the capability to produce up to 1,000 devices per day at its High Performance Powertrain facility in Brixworth.

“The team worked round the clock to reverse engineer the device in less than 100 hours,” UCL said in a statement.

“The device has now gained regulatory approval and the UK government has placed an initial order for 10,000 units.”

All seven British-based F1 teams are responding to the UK government’s call to arms to help develop and manufacture life-saving medical equipment as part of the ‘Project Pitlane’ scheme, which is working in conjunction with the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium.

The parent company of the McLaren F1 team – McLaren Group – is using their Automotive and Applied technologies departments to work alongside partners at the University of Southampton and Kemp Sails to develop protective equipment for frontline NHS staff tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.