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8 Sep, 2020 19:01

Another breakthrough? New Russian drug means fewer Covid-19 patients need ventilators, has significantly reduced mortality

Another breakthrough? New Russian drug means fewer Covid-19 patients need ventilators, has significantly reduced mortality

A new Russian medicine being used on Covid-19 patients has reduced the mortality rate by up to five times, according to its developer, Oleg Rosenberg, of Surfactant-BL. The drug is most commonly used to treat severe lung lesions.

Speaking to Moscow newspaper Izvestia, Rosenberg noted that his creation has not only improved the chances of coronavirus patients staying alive, but it has also kept them off ventilators.

“Patients who are treated with Surfactant are reliably less likely to be transferred to an intensive care unit for mechanical ventilation, and mortality among them is 3-5 times lower,” he said, being careful to clarify that data is still being collected. During the pandemic, 120 patients were treated with the drug.

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After speaking to various medical centers, Izvestia discovered that usage of Surfactant-BL has been a success. At Sechenov University in Moscow, 30 out of 32 patients with a severe form of Covid-19 managed to recover. At Tyumen Perinatal Center, all 16 pregnant and postpartum women with the illness survived.

According to Andrey Bautin, the head of the anesthesiology and resuscitation lab at Saint Petersburg's Almazov Medical Center, the mortality rate of seriously ill patients reduced from about 80% to 14.3%.

Surfactant-BL is formed from a natural substance, found in the lungs of cattle, which lines the inside of a cow's pulmonary alveoli. Developed initially to help premature babies with immature lungs, there are now around ten surfactant drugs globally.

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Sergey Avdeev, the country's chief pulmonologist, explained that a randomized trial of the drug has already begun, with a total of 90 patients due to be treated. If the test goes well, Surfactant-BL will be included in the Ministry of Health's official Covid-19 recommendations.

“Foreign colleagues are going in the same direction as we are. But we are one step ahead,” Avdeev said.

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