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.