Vancouver firm to distribute COVID-19 blood purification machine in Canada

A Vancouver company has won the right to distribute a U.S. blood purification machine now approved by Health Canada to treat COVID-19 patients in critical condition.

Last week, the U.S. company CytoSorbents announced it had won a medical device authorization from Health Canada to allow its “extracorporeal blood purification” machine into Canadian hospitals.

CytoSorbents CEO Vincent Capponi said the company would work closely with Vancouver’s Ebbtide Medical to deploy its CytoSorb blood purification system in hospitals throughout Canada.

CytoSorbents — a New Jersey company — has a blood purification technology that prior to COVID-19 had been used to treat over 100,000 critically ill and cardiac surgery cases. The process requires a blood transfusion so is only used in people who are in critical condition.

The machine has been used to treat 2,800 COVID-19 patients in the U.S., European Union, China and Latin America.

Steve Tymchuk, CEO of Ebbtides, said the 15-year-old company specialized in extracorporeal life support and cardiac surgery products.

“We are excited to make CytoSorb immediately available during the COVID-19 crisis in Canada under Health Canada’s COVID-19 Medical Device Authorization for Importation and Sale,” Tymchuk wrote.

CytoSorb spokesperson Bernardo Soriano said the devices performed “extracorporeal blood purification”, “taking blood from a patient’s body, removing harmful inflammatory substances and then returning it.

“High levels of these substances, called cytokines cause problems for the immune system.

“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.”

Cytokine storm is a common death for COVID-19 patients.

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