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COVID-19 adds urgency to synthetic film that aids breathing

COVID-19 adds urgency to synthetic film that aids breathing

Synthetic substance could help COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilators
June 1, 2020
image of lungs

Stanford Bioengineering professor Annelise Barron has devised a synthetic substance that could possibly help patients breathe easier on mechanical ventilators. 

Healthy lung cells generate a surfactant (a thin coating of soaplike substance) that reduces the amount of force required to inhale.  But SARS-CoV-2 attacks the lung cells that produce the natural surrfactant.  

Ventilators are needed for COVID-19 patients when they can longer breathe on their own; however, these patients on mechanical ventilators are at risk for infection and lung damage from over-inflation. 

"Application of a synthetic sufactant to breathing-impaired lungs prior to intubation could lower the pressure required for ventilation" and "in some cases, help a patient regain the ability to breathe independently sooner without sustaining alveolar damage from the ventilator."

This synthetic substance has not yet been tested in large-animal studies or clinical trials for COVID-19 patients.  

Read the full article on Stanford Scope.