A breathing system to reduce reliance on ventilators has been developed for COVID-19 patients by a consortium that includes Mercedes F1 team and Oxford Optronix. It has been developed, manufactured and approved for use in the UK National Health System within weeks of the initial request.

With the season suspended by COVID-19, the Formula 1 team was able to use their high-tech engineering centres to reverse-engineer a device that could be produced rapidly by the thousands.The UK government has placed orders for more than 10,000 systems.

The system comprises a Continuous positive airway pressurecPAP device and Oxygen Monitor. cPAP devices provide vital respiratory support by applying mild and continuous positive air (and oxygen) pressure to keep the airways open in patients who are able to breathe spontaneously; thereby helping them breathe and take up oxygen more easily.  

The evidence from countries such as Italy and China show that use of cPAP reduces demand on actual ventilators by being sufficient, in a significant proportion of cases, to prevent further deterioration.

The systems reduce demand for intensive care beds and allow ventilators to be reserved for critically ill patients in ICU.


Andy Obeid, Oxford Optronix CEO

 ‘On Saturday 21st March, I received an urgent call from Professor Mervyn Singer of University College London explaining to me the vital importance of cPAP in supporting COVID-19 patients with breathing difficulties, especially in those cases where conventional ventilation isn’t justified or potentially injurious to the patient.  

Minutes later, I was being quizzed on how to design, develop and manufacture a monitor to continuously measure the concentration of oxygen being delivered to the patient via cPAP.   

I soon realised that Mervyn was rather politely asking me to do something in five days that would normally take two years!  Well, we did it.

Working flat out and by mobilising the support of every individual in my company as well as other small companies across the U.K., I’m delighted to report that our team has been able to deliver our first batch of prototype oxygen monitors for patient trials commencing this week.  

Volume production will begin next week; in time for the expected peak of severe COVID-19 cases in the UK’ 


Flo-Ox O2 monitor has built in alarms to ensure that oxygen is delivered within set limits. It can be used with virtually any cPAP devices to deliver a constant flow of air.

The monitor which is already attracting global interest, has been recommended for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Flo-Ox monitor will be available from APAC Scientific after 15th April.

Contact us for more information or register your interest now.