London, Ont., researchers first in world to treat COVID-19 with specialized dialysis

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Researchers in London, Ont., say they’ve been able to treat COVID-19 with a specialized dialysis procedure, marking a global first in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The team is made up of scientists from the Lawson Health Research Institute who used a modified dialysis device to conduct the treatment.

The device works by reprogramming a patient’s white blood cells to fight hyperinflammation, a symptom that’s been associated with the body’s response to COVID-19.

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According to a release from Lawson, the new treatment is based off evidence that suggests the virus can cause a cytokine storm in severely ill patients, which is when the patient’s immune system goes dangerously overboard in responding to it.

The cytokine storm is what leads to the hyperinflammatory state, said Lawson.

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Amid concerns of global drug shortages and limited remedies for hyperinflammation, lead researcher Dr. Chris McIntyre said he sought to discover more treatment options for COVID-19.

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“This led to the idea of treating a patient’s blood outside of the body,” said McIntyre.

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