By Ron Howells • 18 April 2021 • 9:42
This device could prove to be a game-changer in the fight agaisnt covid. image: Darpa
Device Developed By The Pentagon To End Pandemics Being Tested In Hospitals Across Europe.
The United States has developed a device that cleans the blood of viruses by 99.7% and is already being tested in hospitals in America and Europe, Spain is due to start trials in two hospitals, it has been announced.
The device helps reduce viral load and buy time to apply other treatments. This filter has been used with the Zika and Ebola viruses and may be key to reducing the strength of SARS-CoV-2
It might surprise you to learn that many of the innovations deployed to counter the coronavirus were once obscure Pentagon-funded projects, primarily developed to defend soldiers from contagious diseases and biological weapons.
Over the past few months, we have all heard repeatedly that after the coronavirus pandemic many more waves will arrive. However, the United States Department of Defense was not willing for this to happen and instead relied on its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (better known as DARPA ), who are charged with developing ‘impossible inventions’ that can facilitate work in the future to national soldiers, as explained on their website.
“The director of DARPA was very clear: I said ‘your mission is to eliminate pandemics’ ” recalled Matt Hepburn, director of the Office of Biotechnology of the agency, in an interview for 60 minutes on American CBS, which aired on April 11. Thus, when this pandemic reared it’s ugly head, DARPA went into emergency mode and focused all its research projects on stopping the spread of covid.
“That is the spirit of the DARPA model. We challenge the research community to create solutions that may sound like science fiction. We are willing to risk investments that may not work but, if they do, may completely change the landscape. ” Hepburn explained in the interview.
It was due to this research project that the Seraph 100 was developed. It is a device that cleans the blood of critical patients with COVID-19 and that allows saving time in the application of treatments, reducing the mortality of the disease and hopefully reducing the effect of the pandemic.
The Seraph 100 is basically a filter that is used as a treatment for patients, it is not a form of disease prevention. “A pump pushes the blood out of the body, which passes through the interior of the filter for 2.4 or 5 hours, although it can be up to a whole day, and the volume of the circulating pathogen is reduced by 99.7% in the first session”, explained one of the developers.
The cylindrical device is extracorporeal and is about 7.5 centimetres in diameter and about 23 centimetres long. ” Inside there are many small microspheres, each 0.3 millimetres in diameter, which have a kind of hairs, like heparan sulfate from cellular glycocalyx, where viruses and bacteria are trapped,” says the specialist. “In this way, the patient’s blood is purified, as with hemodialysis, and the pathogen is concentrated within the Seraph 100, which is then discarded,” he added.
The filter has been tested in Germany, and in the next few days Spain will take delivery of some units- the device will be distributed through a company called Cardiolink.
The Seraph 100 will be tested in 42 critical patients positive for COVID-19, under the supervision of the Hospital Clínico San Carlos in Madrid and the Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona announced Cardiolink on its website.
It is not yet known if the UK has expressed interest in the unit or how much it costs but the developers say they have been inundated with interest for the unit which could be a gamechanger if proved successful in the field,
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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