As the global death toll from the current Ebola outbreak officially hit 5,147 this week, a San Diego medical device company is reporting promising findings in the treatment of one infected patient.
Aethlon Medical CEO James Joyce said in an interview earlier this week that a Ugandan doctor stricken with Ebola is now recovering in Germany after receiving dialysis-like treatments with Aethlon’s Hemopurifier, a device that filters viruses from a patient’s blood. The company says its bio-filter uses a membrane coated with lectins—proteins that bind to carbohydrates. The filter captures viruses by binding with the glycoproteins on their surface. (The glycoproteins normally enable viruses to lock onto cells while they are circulating in the body.)
Aethlon says the Ebola virus can no longer be detected in the patient’s blood—in other words, the infection appears to have been vanquished. In a statement today, the company says, “The patient has since been moved out of a level-A isolation unit at Frankfurt University Hospital, with a recovery of organ functions.”
A German doctor who oversaw the treatment presented the latest findings about it today in a special session on Ebola and dialysis at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in Philadelphia.
In his presentation, Helmut Geiger, chief of nephrology at Goethe University, Frankfurt University Hospital, said the number of Ebola viruses in the patient’s blood plunged from 400,000 to 1,000 viral copies per milliliter following a single 6.5-hour administration of Hemopurifier therapy. The viral load never again rose above 1,000 copies per ml. The bio-filtration therapy was well tolerated, with no adverse events reported, according to Aethlon’s statement, which was released during Geiger’s presentation.
Following treatment, Aethlon said the filter used in the therapy was taken to a special bio-hazard facility at Philipps University of Marburg, where researchers found 242 million Ebola viruses had been captured during treatment.
The patient, identified in media reports as a doctor named Michael Mawanda, entered Frankfurt University Hospital after he was flown to Germany on Oct. 3 from Sierra Leone, where he fell ill while caring for Ebola patients.
Geiger said the patient did not receive Hemopurifier therapy until 12 days after he was initially diagnosed. By then, he was unconscious and suffering from multiple organ failures. He was being mechanically ventilated, continuously dialyzed, and was receiving medications to raise his blood pressure.
It’s unclear, however, whether Mawanda may have also benefited from other treatments he received during his prolonged stay at the Frankfurt hospital. For example, Reuters reported earlier this month that Mawanda received an experimental drug initially designed to treat vascular problems and help heart attack patients.
Anticipating a wave of interest following Geiger’s presentation, Joyce was in New York this week to brief … Next Page »
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