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FDA Authorizes Blood Purification Device to Treat COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for a blood purification system to treat patients 18 years of age or older with confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with confirmed or imminent respiratory failure.

The authorized product works by reducing the amount of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators, i.e., small active proteins in the bloodstream that control a cell’s immune response by filtering the blood and returning the filtered blood to the patient. 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.

“We continue to work across all sectors to expedite the development of numerous innovative potential preventive and treatment approaches by both facilitating emergency access for patients, to the extent we can, and supporting the evaluation of potential therapies,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “With today’s authorization of a blood purification device, we are expediting the availability of a treatment option for patients in the ICU to help reduce the severity of the disease. Our staff will continue our around the clock review of all medical products to expedite the availability of treatments to help fight this devastating disease.”

The FDA issued this emergency use authorization to Terumo BCT Inc. and Marker Therapeutics AG for their Spectra Optia Apheresis System and Depuro D2000 Adsorption Cartridge devices.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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