UCL welcomes UK Government order for 10,000 breathing aids

UCL welcomes news that the Government has ordered 10,000 breathing aids, developed by engineers at UCL and Formula One and clinicians at UCLH, which will be delivered to hospitals across the country over the next 15 days.

The announcement, made tonight by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, is a positive step in delivering much-needed breathing aids to the NHS to help tackle Covid-19.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices have been used extensively in China and Italy to help patients with Covid-19 breathe more easily but are in short supply in UK hospitals.

Engineers at UCL and Mercedes-AMG HPP, together with clinicians at UCLH, worked round the clock to reverse engineer a CPAP device that could be rapidly manufactured and delivered to NHS hospitals ahead of a predicted surge in hospital admissions.

The device they produced, called UCL-Ventura, gained regulatory approval last week and the Government has now placed an order for 10,000.

The team are currently conducting patient evaluations at UCLH and will also soon start these at sister hospitals.

Providing the patient evaluations are successful, the team will start mass production of CPAP devices by the beginning of next week for distribution across the NHS hospital network. The order of up to 10,000 CPAP devices will be fulfilled by 15 April.

Professor Rebecca Shipley, Director of UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, said: "This government backing will enable us to rapidly deliver devices providing vital support to the NHS in the weeks and months ahead. We are grateful for the partnerships between engineers, healthcare and industry that have made quick manufacture of these devices possible and are now working hard to deliver the order to hospitals across the country."

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, said: "The entire UCL community welcomes the news tonight that the UK Government has placed an order for 10,000 CPAP devices for our NHS. We are deeply proud of the incredible UCL team who have produced these life-saving devices at rapid speed together with UCLH and Mercedes-AMG HPP. This breakthrough comes at a critical time for the Covid-19 crisis and demonstrates what amazing things can be achieved when universities, hospitals, industry and international partners join forces for the national good."

Professor David Lomas (UCL Vice Provost Health) said: "I am delighted that the Government have commissioned our CPAP device for patients with coronavirus. It has the potential to save lives and keep patients off ventilators. We are currently completing our clinical trials and will then increase production for the NHS."

Professor Tim Baker (Mechanical Engineering) said: "Together with HPP, we worked all hours of the day to reverse engineer a CPAP device that could be delivered quickly to hospitals. With this order, we move closer to our goal of supporting the NHS response to Covid-19."

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