Canadian doctors are using dialysis to treat Covid-19

Hyperaxion May 8, 2020

They are the first in the world to work with the technique, which uses biochemical components to “reprogram” white blood cells against the new coronavirus.

Specialists at the Lawson Health Research Institute in Ontario, Canada, were the first in the world to treat a patient with Covid-19 using a dialysis device. The accomplishment was announced on Thursday (07), on the institution’s website.

Canadian doctors are using dialysis to treat Covid-19
Dr. Chris McIntyre next to the modified dialysis machine (Credit: Lawson Health Research Institute).

Evidence suggests that Sars-CoV-2 infection causes an exaggerated immune response called a “cytokine storm”. “Working in the intensive care unit (ICU), I was aware that more treatment options were needed in the fight against COVID-19,” said lead researcher Dr. Chris McIntyre, in a statement. “This led to the idea of treating a patient’s blood outside of the body. We could reprogram white blood cells associated with inflammation to alter the immune response.”

The scientists used a modified version of a standard dialysis machine for treatment. Through a process that uses specific levels of biochemical components, they “reprogrammed” white blood cells to fight hyperinflammation in affected organs, rather than attacking them.

After the successful treatment of a patient, the researchers hope to conduct a clinical trial that will include up to 40 patients who have severe cases of infection with the new coronavirus. Research participants will be randomized and will receive standard care in combination with this new treatment.

“The ultimate goal is to improve patient survival and lessen their dependency on oxygen and ventilation,” explained Dr. McIntyre. According to him, if the method proves effective, it will be combined with other therapies to reduce the inflammatory consequences caused by Sars-CoV-2.

Device used by the specialists.
Device used by the specialists. (Credit: Lawson Health Research Institute).

Additionally, the study will allow specialists to identify which cytokines or biomarkers are important for the hyperinflammatory response observed in patients with Covid-19. “With the knowledge we’re gaining, we can study a patient’s blood to determine whether this extracorporeal treatment is making a difference,” said Dr. Douglas Fraser, co-author of the research.

Related topics:

Coronavirus Covid-19

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