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Israeli Team Develops Technology to Treat Covid-19 Patients

By José Escobedo | Tue, 04/14/2020 - 18:06

A team of researchers and scientists led by Dr. Josué Sznitman from the Israeli research university Technion Israel Institute of Technology (Technion), have been working on a new technology that could drastically improve the effectiveness of drugs for treating Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). This is considered the leading cause of mortality in COVID-19 patients, reports the institute.

According to the American Lung Association, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening lung injury that allows fluid to leak into the lungs. Breathing becomes difficult and oxygen cannot get into the body. Most people diagnosed with ARDS are already at the hospital for trauma or illness.

The technology Dr. Sznitman’s team is working on is called Liquid Foam Therapy (LIFT). The purpose of this technique is to dramatically improve the distribution of surfactant, the liquid that coats the surface of alveoli in the lungs, across the lungs. One of the main advantages of surfactant is that it reduces the energy required for breathing. In recent studies, it was demonstrated that the COVID-19 virus kills the cells that secrete surfactant inside alveoli, after binding to a receptor on the cell’s surface, according to Technion’s statement. Sznitman’s team hypothesis is that surfactant depletion may be particularly severe in COVID-19 related ARDS.

Unfortunately, to date, there is no existing therapy to treat ARDS patients. They must be under ventilation and oxygenation assistance and this often happens under intubation in intensive care units (ICUs), according to Technion’s statement.

Plans in the short term are to have the team’s research, in which they examined the efficacy and safety of the technology in rats suffering from respiratory distress, submitted to a scientific publication, according to the researchers. The results so far have led to an improvement in functional lung indexes in rats, including increased blood oxygen levels and decreased respiratory pressure.

Technion also reported that China has already expressed interest in the treatment and similar trials will soon be launched in the Asian country to make the treatment available as soon as possible for clinical use in human patients.

 

 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
CTECH, American Lung Association
Photo by:   PIxabay
José Escobedo José Escobedo Senior Editorial Manager