Doctors believe that it is more effective than sending patients on ventilators.

Physicians involved in the treatment of severe cases COVID-19, mainly focus their efforts on maintaining the life of patients as long as the body’s defenses will not enable them to breathe on their own, writes

Acute respiratory distress syndrome, known as ARDS, is a life-threatening condition in which the light enters the liquid. This syndrome, common in patients infected with the coronavirus, especially the elderly, may lead to respiratory failure and death.

The application of ventilator is the main method of treatment of patients with ARDS. It is assumed that the mechanical support provided by a light unit, allow patients to survive. But at least in 50 percent of cases – and by some estimates, up to 70 percent – the ventilator does not save patients suffering from COVID-19.

Four years ago, Professor Josué Schnitman and colleagues from Haifa’s Technion began the development of the treatment of a condition similar to ARDS, which can occur in premature babies, the immature lungs that lack of pulmonary surfactant – a fluid that covers the surface of lung alveoli.

“Already 30 years ago it was known that the injection of the molten surfactant directly into the lungs of newborns greatly helps them to function normally,” says Schnitman. He added that in 98 percent of cases this method helped to save the infant’s life.

The problem is that in the case of the treatment of adult patients method of drug delivery to the lungs was extremely inefficient due to the size of the latter. In large adults light pour in drop by drop, the liquid is distributed unevenly, resulting in one lung area be flooded, while in other medication comes.

In the laboratory of Schnitman currently a simple solution: to convert the liquid surfactant to a foam. “Foam has a larger volume than liquid”, explains the scientist, “and less susceptible to influence of gravity, so it can evenly spread in the lungs and contribute to the recovery and correct functioning of epithelial cells,” he says.

The technique, called “liquid foam therapy” (LIFT), has been successfully tested on rats, who for 15 to 30 minutes returned to healthy status without any undesirable side effects. Because rats lungs are too small, so that their example can be judged on the improvement of the distribution of drugs in the lungs, the researchers conducted experiments ex vivo (i.e. outside the body) to the lungs of the pig, similar in size to the lungs of adults. So it was confirmed that the use of LIFT techniques leads to a more uniform distribution of medicinal substances in comparison with its introduction in liquid form.

In may, the laboratory plans to begin preclinical testing on pigs. If they are successful, Schnitman will begin this fall for the first clinical trials in humans, and thereby accelerate the development of methods of treatment.

“If the method will justify itself, it will also be used for insertion directly into the lungs of the medication and not only, for example, stem cells can contribute to recovery of damaged lungs,” he says. The study receives support from the European Union and the Israeli Ministry of science, technology and space exploration.