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  Coronavirus Response

Published on: May 27, 2020, 10:36 p.m.
Biocon to start trials of new blood filter device
  • Cytosorb has already been used in 800 clinical departments

By Sumit Ghoshal. Contributing Editor, Business India

Biocon Biologics, a subsidiary of Biocon Ltd, Bangalore, is getting ready for trials on a special device to clean up the blood of seriously ill patients of Covid-19.

Earlier this week, the office of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) gave its approval for testing CytoSorb, which can then be marketed in India. The US FDA has already given its concurrence for the use of this technology in Covid-19 patients.

CytoSorb has already been used in 800 clinical departments across the world for the treatment of over 56,000 patients. The product developed and marketed by CytoSorbent Corporation of New Jersey, can be used in a wide variety of life-threatening medical conditions and is not exclusively meant for Coronavirus Disease.

It is plug-and-play compatible with the most commonly used blood purification machines or pumps in the ICU used to treat COVID-19 patients, including hemoperfusion, renal dialysis, continuous renal replacement therapy, and extracorporeal (outside the body) membrane oxygenation machines.

The device works in much the same way as the candle-based water filters that people would use many years ago to get clean drinking water in their homes. Thus its basic component is a container of specially designed beads to which a particular protein present in the human blood can cling – the process being known as adsorption. This is slightly different from absorption in which the target material enters into the body of the absorbent material.

CytoSorbent therapy is aimed at reducing the concentration of cytokines in blood and relieving the disastrous impact of what medical specialists describe as a Cytokine Storm. Cytokines are a category of blood proteins that are supposed to cooperate with White Blood Cells in fighting off any major infection in the human body. But if the cytokines are secreted in much larger quantities than warranted, they can cause serious damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs, or generate hundreds and thousands of microscopic clots all over the body. Many clinical experts believe that the real cause of death in a significant proportion of Covid-19 patients is a Cytokine Storm created by an overactive immune system.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon Ltd says, “As a science-led organisation, Biocon’s endeavor is to provide innovative solutions to patients to address their unmet needs. CytoSorb is a unique, in-licensed device that reduces the Cytokine Storm in critically ill patients.

“DCGI approval for emergency use of CytoSorb for critical Covid-19 patients is an important example of how industry and regulators are working in tandem to urgently provide physicians and patients with new treatment options in the fight against Covid-19. CytoSorb will be an important addition to the Indian medical community’s arsenal against the deadly coronavirus,” she added.

Medical specialists involved in the treatment of Covid-19 patients emphasise that CytoSorb therapy has to be used alongside other medicinal therapies such as anti-viral drugs for a satisfactory outcome.

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