In France, ten Covid-19 patients will be administered a solution from the blood of a sea worm as part of a clinical trial. "We obtained the two administrative green lights to be able to start," announced on Saturday April 4, Doctor Franck Zal, head of the Breton company Hemarina, at the origin of the product.
Intended for patients affected by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), the solution to be administered is created from the hemoglobin of a sea worm, measuring between 10 and 15 cm, named arenicole. It has red blood cells capable of carrying 40 times more oxygen than the hemoglobin of human red blood cells.
This "molecular respirator", whose project is codenamed "Monaco", is a "perspective of hope to relieve resuscitation", commented the director of the company Hermarina.
Green light from the Personal Protection Committee
After the agreement of the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products (ANSM), the Hemarina company announced on Saturday that it had obtained the necessary green light from the Personal Protection Committee (CPP) to start its research. The test must take place in one of the two Parisian hospitals, at the Pitié-Salpêtrière (13th arrondissment) or at Georges-Pompidou (15th), which will have these products.
"First, we will have a safety and effectiveness test to be able to see a sign of oxygenation for people who are going to fall into intensive care," said the boss of Hemarina. It is about "avoiding, trying to avoid, that patients arrive too quickly in intensive care".
"Open source is the rule"
"We would like the research to be open source, for the data to be published and open to the international community", underlined Franck Zal.
"Our results will be published in accordance with scientific rules and the people receiving the molecule. In this time of crisis, open source is the rule", reacted Laurent Lantieri, one of the scientific managers of the Monaco project, on Twitter.
Based in Morlaix, Hemarina has its own sea worm breeding farm in Vendée, and had 5,000 doses immediately available at the end of March with the capacity to produce 15,000 others "fairly quickly".
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