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As researchers all over the globe race to find a way to treat and prevent COVID-19, several possibilities are being explored. They cover the spectrum from developing new, innovative ways to fight the virus to possibly repurposing existing drug therapies. Currently, the research has focused on two distinct categories. They are antivirals and immune modulators. Here is a short breakdown of what both of these are:
Antivirals are medications that hamper the multiplying effect of a virus. Antivirals are commonly used to combat the effects of flu which, in simple terms, prevent it from getting worse. Antivirals block an enzyme called neuraminidase which is active in the virus. This enzyme typically escapes from one cell and invades a neighboring cell. This is how a virus spreads. With a blocker in place, the enzyme is kept in one cell or cannot move into many other cells.
Immune Modulators assist the immune system in fighting a virus, or may even keep the virus from conducting a dangerous activity. Immune modulators are drugs that are used to restore, boost, or activate the immune function. These medications work in many different ways but essentially assist the immune system by adjusting protein levels. It is from this delicate balance that the immune system can become strong enough to provide a defense against viral infection.
Multi Radiance Medical (MRM) is a manufacturing company based in Solon, Ohio. They produce FDA-approved super pulsed laser therapy devices. These devices are used for pain management as well as speeding up recovery. The technology is safe, non-invasive, and drug-free and has become a viable alternative to traditional prescription medications. The company has completed a clinical trial and is seeking emergency use authorization to implement the super pulsed laser therapy to improve respiratory function in critically ill COVID-19 patients.
The timely clinical trial followed a triple-blind, placebo-controlled format. The purpose of the trial was to evaluate how the MRM super pulsed laser therapy technology preserved and improved the thickness of the diaphragm in COVID-19 patients who were on ventilators. The promising results revealed that laser therapy reduced invasive intubation time/need by 18% overall. It also showed a 23% drop in the time/need for mechanical ventilation.
MRM Lead Researcher Dr. Ernesto Leal-Junior stated that “improved thickness of the diaphragm has been associated with improved respiratory function and increased vital capacity over time.” He went on to say, “This is the first clinical evidence that super pulsed laser therapy can significantly improve the ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) symptoms of the critically ill.”
Douglas Johnson, MRM Senior Vice President of Clinical and Scientific Affairs commented that “these results show that our novel photoceutical device lessens the amount of time mechanical ventilation is needed – reducing the risks associated with prolonged use.” He summed it up with, “Less need frees up equipment and beds for other patients.”
MRM Founder and CEO Mx Kanarsky says, “As vaccines are being developed to prevent disease spread, we need to find better ways to care for critically ill patients.” He added, “The promising trial results show that MRM super pulsed laser therapy technology can provide a new way to reduce the side effects often experienced during lifesaving intubation.”
MRM was approached by researchers based on the company’s previous work. This includes extensive peer-reviewed research in COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), sports performance, stroke, and many other health conditions. This trial was also the first one ever that was conducted to evaluate a non-pharmaceutical medical device that results in virtually no side effects. This alone can improve health outcomes in seriously ill patients.
Laser therapy is known by many names including phototherapy and low-level laser therapy. The technology involves low power coherent light applied to injuries. The light stimulates healing and reduces pain. Light therapy is credited as being successful in applications where tissue repair can be completed quickly and will improve both the quality and strength of those tissues receiving light therapy. The technology also reduces inflammation which contributes to pain relief.
Following approval by the Food and Drug Administration, MRM will be able to distribute their product to hospitals currently treating COVID-19 patients. The speed at which this has to happen to assist with COVID treatments is why MRM is seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA. There is no estimate from either party on what timeframe this could fill, but it is safe to say that for several critically ill patients who are fighting the effects of COVID-19, super pulsed light therapy technology could be the answer they have been hoping for in speeding up their treatment and recovery.
There are currently thousands of clinical trials being conducted these days with COVID-19 therapies. The European Medicines Agency reported back in June 2020 that at that time 132 potential COVID-19 treatments were being discussed by developers all over the world. Clinical trials typically involve randomized, controlled situations that involve more than one hundred participants.
While the race is underway to bring some relief to the fight against COVID-19, the global war may have an allay in a laser light therapy that has been in use for years by a US company. Clinical trials produced favorable results on how this therapy improved the condition of the diaphragm in critically ill patients on ventilators. Light therapy speeds up healing, is virtually pain-free, and strengthens damaged tissues.
These are the reasons why Multi Radiance Medical is seeking approval for emergency use of this technology from the FDA. Although this type of treatment will not be the only one available, it is one that will be a popular choice as it is non-invasive and an alternative for those who would prefer to not depend on prescription medications to fight the effects of COVID-19. Should the FDA grant authorization, it will be a first where a non-medical device becomes used in such therapy.