Friday 16 April 2021 5:01 am

Filter that is able to remove Covid-19 from blood given emergency approval in US

A Pentagon-funded agency has developed a filter that is able to remove the Coronavirus from blood cells when linked to a dialysis machine.

After around 300 critically ill Covid-19 patients made a full recovery following treatment with the filter, the FDA has approved the method for emergency use, according to multiple media reports.

Moreover, scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) have also developed a microchip that can detect Covid-19 when inserted under the skin.

The relatively secretive team at DARPA, a unit that was created at the height of the Cold War, have reportedly been working on the project for years.

Its initial aim was to prevent and slow pandemics and virus outbreaks. The team’s efforts were ramped up and expanded following the outbreak of Coronavirus at the beginning of last year.

Covid-19 blood filter

According to 60 Minutes, aired last Sunday evening on CBS, a Covid-19 infected patient was placed on a dialysis machine, after which the virus was removed from the blood.

During the broadcast, Matt Hepburn, a retired US army colonel who leads DARPA’s infectious disease program, explained the experimental treatment lasts four days and was first given to ‘patient 16,’ a military spouse, who had ended up in intensive care with organ failure and septic shock.

“Basically, you pass it through [the filter], and it takes the virus out, and puts the blood back in,” Hepburn told viewers.

Patient 16 made a full recovery within days, according to the report.

The FDA has reportedly authorized the filter for emergency use, after it was successfully been used to treat nearly 300 critically ill patients.

Microchip

Also discussed during the 60 Minutes episode was DARPA’s microchip, which is able to detect a Covid-19 infection before the individual in question can actually transmit the virus, and thus prevent an outbreak.

During the broadcast, Hepburn demonstrated to the 60 Minutes team how a tissue-like gel can continuously monitor and test an individual’s blood.

“You put [the chip] underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body, and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow,” Hepburn explained.

“It’s like a ‘check engine’ light,” he continued, adding that “sailors would get the signal, then self-administer a blood draw and test themselves on site, [and] we can have that information in three to five minutes.”

Officials reportedly stressed that is not the Pentagon’s aim to track individuals’ movements or to collect other data from the implanted chip.

Vaccine for mutations

Finally, another scientist, Dr Kayvon Modjarrad, said during the show that he and his team are currently developing a vaccine against all Covid mutations.

“We have the tools, we have the technology, to do this all right now,” he reportedly said. ‘This is not science fiction, this is science fact.”

Ultimately, this should provide protection against deadly viruses that have not even been identified or do not even exist today, he continued.

“Killer viruses that we haven’t seen or even imagined, we’ll be protected against,” Modjarrad concluded.

Below a fragment from 60 Minutes, aired last Sunday evening.

Almost half of US Marines decline vaccine

The latest Pentagon tools to detect and prevent Covid-19 infections comes as it was made public that around 40 per cent of US Marines have chosen not to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.

Data provided by the service shows that as of last week, 75,500 Marines had received a vaccination, while 48,000 declined the jab.

The declination rate at the Camp Lejeune facility in North Carolina was even higher, at 57 per cent.

“We fully understand that widespread acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine provides us with the best means to defeat the pandemic. The key to addressing the pandemic is building vaccine confidence,” Marine Corps spokeswoman Col. Kelly Frushour told CNN in a statement.

Frushour said there are several potential reasons why Marines are choosing not to have the jab, such as allowing others to receive it first or waiting until it becomes mandatory.

“Service members who decline one day can change their mind and become vaccinated when next the opportunity presents itself,” she said.

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