Hemanua readies device for Ebola treatment

Ebola virus
Pictured: Ebola virus. Source: CDC/Dr. Frederick A. Murphy. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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28 November 2014 | 0

Medical technology start-up Hemanua, in collaboration with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, is in advanced testing of a blood separation device that could have implications for the treatment of the Ebola virus.

ProBlood CP enables the harvesting and transfusion of convalescent plasma (CP) without electricity and driven only by gravity.

Dr William Murphy, medical and scientific director, Irish Blood Transfusion Service, said: “The use of convalescent plasma from people who have recently recovered from Ebola virus infection has considerable promise as an effective treatment for patients with acute life-threatening infection.

“Clinical trials of plasma therapy are now planned by several agencies in the epidemic-affected region to assess this approach… The device provides a very real opportunity for clinicians in the field to provide convalescent plasma to the Ebola patients in their care easily and rapidly, and without the need for expensive and complex plasmapheresis equipment.”

Medical scientists with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Harry Croxon added: “By meeting the requirements to separate a donation of whole blood simply and efficiently into a unit of therapeutic plasma and donor blood cells within a timeframe of 60-90 minutes. Results of preliminary laboratory tests indicate that the plasma should be found to be of similar therapeutic value to the plasma produced by conventional means.”

Dan Maher, CEO of Hemanua, said: “ProBlood CP is based on the company’s patented filter configuration of hollow microfibres capable of extracting plasma while concentrating the red blood cells for re-transfusion to the donor.”

He stressed “the ability to re-transfuse immediately to the donor their own red cells is a critical advantage facilitating more frequent donations and keeping the donor healthy.”

Hemanua is based at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin and has a development laboratory at the Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre in Waterford Institute of Technology.

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