Ebola Blood Filter Trial Cleared

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Aethlon Medical, a San Diego, CA device manufacturer has FDA approval for new clinical protocol to test a blood filtering device for use in treating Ebola patients. The device, called the Hemopurifier can be connected to a dialysis machine for one-use filtering of the blood to remove virus particles. The Jan. 2 FDA approval clears the way for a planned US clinical trial of the J device. The company has an on-going trial to test its use in reducing the viral load in patients infected with Hepatitis C. The company's hope is that the device could be used to treat patients with many life-threatening viral infections, including HIV.

Aethlon Medical, a San Diego, CA device manufacturer has FDA approval for new clinical protocol to test a blood filtering device for use in treating Ebola patients.

The device, called the Hemopurifier can be connected to a dialysis machine for one-use filtering of the blood to remove virus particles. The Jan. 2 FDA approval clears the way for a planned US clinical trial of the device. The company also has an on-going trial to test ithe Hemopurifier's use in reducing the viral load in patients infected with Hepatitis C. The company’s hope is that the device could be used to treat patients with many life-threatening viral infections, including HIV.

The filter made headlines late last year when a Helmut Geiger, MD, head of nephrology at Goethe University, Frankfurt Hospital, Frankfurt, Germany reported at a major medical meeting that he treated a Ugandan Ebola patient in Frankfurt with the device and cured him. The patient was seriously ill at the time, unconscious and going into multiple organ failure. His treatment included mechanical ventilation, continuous dialysis and vasopressor medications. He has fully recovered.

Treatment involves a 6-to-8 hour therapy continued until the viral load drops below 1,000 copies/ml.

Geiger’s patient had 400,000 virus copies in his blood but after a 6.5-hour treatment that load dropped to under 1,000, the doctor reported at the annual American Society of Nephrology meeting last year.

Ebola Vaccine Resumes Trials at Lower Dose

Meanwhile, on the drug front, the trials of the Merck-NewLink Ebola vaccine resumed today in Geneva, Switzerland. The research was temporarily suspended in in December 11 when some participants complained of muscle aches and fever. The researchers have since lowered the dosage used in the trial.

Ebola Exposed Nurse Being Treated at Nebraska Facility

Though there have been no recent cases of locally acquired Ebola in the US, patients continue to arrive for treatment at specialty centers. The latest is an unidentified nurse who was treating Ebola patients abroad and—due to a high-risk exposure to the virus--is now under observation in Omaha, NE at Nebraska Medical Center. The hospital has not released any details on the patient’s identity.

The hospital has a bio-containment unit and has treated 3 Ebola patients, including Martin Salia, MD. a surgeon from Africa who died at the hospital. Two other patients treated there survived: NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo and an Ebola volunteer Richard Sacra, MD.

Another nurse from Scotland, Pauline Cafferkey, who worked as a volunteer Africa has Ebola and is getting care in London at Royal Free Hospital. The hospital recently reported that her condition has improved from critical to stable.

The Ebola death toll in Africa is over 8.100, according to the World Health Organization.

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