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March 29, 2021 Monday 06:10:32 PM IST

Life-saving breathing device wins innovation award

International Edu News

The UCLH and UCL team behind a life-saving breathing device for COVID patients have won the 2020 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Award for Acute Innovation of the Year for engineering a ‘just-in-time’ COVID-19 solution.  The HSJ Awards celebrate the best teams and people in the NHS and the wider health sector, highlighting excellence and promoting opportunities for funding and innovation within healthcare.  

The UCL-Ventura team of UCL engineers and UCLH critical care consultants, in partnership with Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, led efforts at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to rapidly develop the UCL Ventura CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device, which helps coronavirus patients breathe more easily and keeps them out of intensive care.

Clinical data from UCLH shows that half of the patients treated with CPAP do not progress to ventilation, making this device a lifesaver. Clinical practice across the country has now changed with much greater use of CPAP.

It took less than 100 hours from the first discussions in March 2020 to the first prototype being designed, manufactured and tested. The device is now helping patients with COVID in 130 NHS hospitals and in 15 countries around the world.

The team has already been recognised as the winner of the Royal Academy of Engineering President’s Special Award for Pandemic Services. The full winning team: engineers Prof Tim Baker (UCL Mechanical Engineering), Prof Rebecca Shipley (Director, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering) and clinicians Prof Mervyn Singer (UCL Medicine and UCLH Critical Care), Dr David Brealey (UCL Medicine and UCLH Critical Care) and Prof David Lomas (School of Life and Medical Sciences).