Hospitals in Germany and Italy have begun using ExThera’s Seraph 100 Microbind Affinity Blood Filter to treat Covid-19.

Seraph 100 is the only haemoperfusion device approved for the reduction of pathogens in a patient’s bloodstream. Clinical results and virus binding studies suggest that the procedure should help in the treatment of Covid-19.

Whereas first-generation haemoperfusion devices remove only molecules, Seraph 100 is able to lower the concentration of bacteria, viruses and fungi in whole blood. It can significantly reduce the bloodstream concentration of both drug-susceptible and drug-resistant pathogens, the company said.

Improvement of lung function and a rapid reduction of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens has been observed as a result of Seraph 100 treatment.

Further clinical study is needed to confirm the patient benefit of the device in Covid-19, but laboratory studies with cytokines and other pathogens have accurately predicted Seraph 100 clinical results in other bloodstream infections.

ExThera’s scientific advisory board chair Dr Lakhmir Chawla said: “In respiratory diseases caused by viruses, the onset of viremia (virus in the bloodstream) typically heralds severe disease. Reducing viral levels of Covid-19 may allow the body’s immune system to combat the deadly pathogen.”

Clinicians will need to establish whether the virus that causes Covid-19 is present in the bloodstream of infected patients in measurable concentrations, and if so the stage at which this occurs.

Recent publications and clinician feedback have confirmed the presence of the virus on the blood of critically ill Covid-19 patients. The measured binding capacity of a single Seraph 100 filter, about the size of a soda can, is huge in comparison to the amount of virus present in the bloodstream of critically-ill patients.

ExThera president and CEO Robert Ward said: “Since Seraph 100 treatments have also consistently produced improved oxygenation/lung function, we believe that this feature together with virus reduction may be a useful combination for treating Covid-19, while simultaneously treating the dangerous secondary infections that can occur in Covid-19 patients.”

Seraph 100 is CE marked, but has yet to receive US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. However, ExThera has received clinician interest in the use of the technology in the US and hopes for it to be deployed there once it meets FDA guidance.

ExThera also expects to soon deploy the treatment for Covid-19 in France.