With the increasing death toll due to the coronavirus, discoveries are also launching every other day to fight this pandemic. It is required to have multiple treatment methods as the pandemic is taking over the whole world. This newly modified device is surely a silver lining for coronavirus patients.
The Lawson Health Research Institute has recently launched a trial program in which the team of doctors has successfully treated a coronavirus patient by utilizing a dialysis device that has been modified for the cause. It is designed to counter the hyper inflammation in the body by modifying the leukocytes present in the blood. It is already put into trial by the London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) where terminally ill patients are being treated using this dialysis device.
Since there is a shortage of drugs and limited options to treat the hyper inflammation in coronavirus patients, this device can be used to treat the “cytokine storm” a condition observed in which the immune response becomes hyperactive due to the virus.
The cytokine storm is being studied by Dr. Douglas Fraser who is a Scientist at Lawson and Paediatric Critical Care Physician at LHSC. He is identifying the cytokines involved in inducing the inflammatory response in COVID-19 patients.
This modified version of the dialysis device is named “extracorporeal leucocyte modifying device” since the device removes the blood from the patient to modify the white blood cells.
It differs from a standard dialyzer in a way that draws blood rather slowly which is gentler. After the removal of blood, it is biochemically treated for the transformation of inflammation linked leucocytes after which they are released into the circulation circuit.
These “reprogrammed” leucocytes after reaching the lungs and other affected organs are expected to counter hyper inflammation instead of increasing it.
The trial for this treatment will be done at LHSC’s Victoria Hospital and University Hospital. For the first clinical trial, 40 severely affected by the coronavirus patients will be selected and randomly put into two groups. One group with being treated with standard procedure and care while the other group will be treated with the new dialysis device along with standard care. The results from both groups will be compared to determine the effectiveness of this novel device.
The Lawson Scientist and LHSC Nephrologist, Dr. Chris Mclntyre emphasized the importance of multiple treatment methods for the treatment of coronavirus patients. Hence, the researchers came up with the idea of “reprogramming” the white blood cells to prevent inflammation and down-regulate the immune response.
Dr. Mclntyre believes if the efficacy of this device is proven, it will help to increase the rate of survival of patients. This device can be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment along with the use of an antiviral drug.
Lawson’s Kidney Clinical Research Unit led a trial for 40 days which started from the creation of the device to the recovery of the patient. The device if proven effective, can be used to treat sepsis-like diseases.
While a shortage of ventilators is seen in various health care systems and resources to treat COVID-19 are limited, there is a dire need to come up with additional treatment options to deal with the pandemic. At this time, the Canadian team of researchers has developed this dialysis device to decrease the mortality rate of the patients and decrease their dependence on ventilators.