A device uses magnetism to rid the bloodstream of pathogens that are the source of infections. Bioengineers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute have developed a blood filter that quickly grabs toxins, such as E.coli or Ebola, from the bloodstream using protein-coated nanobeads and magnets.
In early tests, the biomechanical treatment removed more than 90 percent of toxins from infected human blood within a few hours. When our immune system fights an infection, the dying virus releases toxins into the bloodstream that can cause sepsis, a life-threatening immune response. Doctors can’t always pinpoint the specific pathogen that causes sepsis, so they use antibiotics to carpet-bomb the bloodstream, a strategy that’s not always effective and can lead to drug-resistance.