LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) — Colorado is on the front line of finding a way to treat and prevent COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just given emergency approval for a blood purification system developed by a company in Lakewood.
The product from TerumoBCT filters out proteins in the blood that controls a cell’s immune response. The filtered blood is then returned to the patient.
“If you are immune-compromised your system goes into overload and can kill you before it kills the virus,” said CEO of TerumoBCT Antoinette Gawin.
What the machine called Spectra Optia does is filter the protein from the blood that triggers a viral overload and allows the patient to survive.
According to the FDA, the proteins that are removed are typically elevated during infections and can be associated with a “cytokine storm” that occurs in some COVID-19 patients, leading to severe inflammation, rapidly progressive shock, respiratory failure, organ failure and death.
The system could be used for patients 18 and older who are diagnosed with COVID-19 who are admitted to the intensive care unit with confirmed or imminent respiratory failure.
“It’s a matter of us educating physicians and getting it in their hands,” said Gawin.
There are already 6,000 of these devices in use for other illnesses around the world. It has shown promise in Italy and Spain leading the FDA to give emergency approval for use in the U.S. It was designed and built in Lakewood.
“There is hope there are technologies and the more people that put their brain power together the more likely we are to give the physicians the right weapons to tackle this disease,” said Gawin.