While most patients with COVID-19 develop only mild or uncomplicated illness, approximately 14% develop severe disease that requires hospitalization. This is due to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), sepsis and septic shock, multi-organ failure, including acute kidney injury and cardiac damage.
In April 2020 a group of eleven famous international medical research institutions suggested that NETs could be responsible for the severe symptoms seen in COVID-19 patients. NET levels are increased dramatically in the blood of COVID-19 patients. This increase in levels of circulating NETS are strongly correlated to the severity of the disease.
It has been shown that being a very unusual protein with very high degree of intrinsic disorder, histone H1.3 can directly capture viruses via binding of specific membrane exposed capsid protein of noroviruses, adenoviruses, HIV-1 and several others.
Our preclinical studies of NucleoCapture in large animals with septic shock have confirmed the removal of NETs is associated with highly significant treatment effect leading to shock resolution, haemodynamic stabilization and preserved organ function.
We believe that the removal of NETs and nucleic acid of SARS CoV-2 virus using NucleoCapture therapeutic apheresis might deliver significant clinical benefit for severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Devastating effects of NETs in COVID-19 patients Image source: Betsy J. Barnes et al. Targeting potential drivers of COVID-19: Neutrophil extracellular traps. J Exp Med 2020; 217 (6): doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20200652