3+ Spine Organizations Taking the Fight to Coronavirus

How they're helping to flatten the curve, find new treatments and reduce equipment shortages

Across the country and the world, elective procedures are being canceled, spine centers are dialing back the number of patients they see, and demand has dropped for many nonessential medical devices. It’s all in an effort to relieve the burden on healthcare systems as the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that way, everyone is doing their part.

Although few spine specialists and their patients are directly affected by the pandemic, nevertheless some companies and institutions are stepping into a more active role in public health. Here are a few spine-related companies or organizations who are wading into the fight against the novel coronavirus sweeping the globe.

Spine companies coronavirusSpine organizations are doing their part in the fight against coronavirus.

Life Spine

You’ve probably seen the acronym “PPE” on the news, on the web, on social media and everywhere else. It stands for personal protective equipment, and the reason the term is everywhere is because the equipment itself is at a critical shortage. PPE include surgical masks, hospital gowns, eye protection, and perhaps most crucial of all, N95 respirators.

Open any neighborhood Facebook group and you’ll see donation drives to get PPE, especially masks, to hospitals facing shortages, which is pretty much all of them. Now, Life Spine has joined the ranks of companies such as Ford, GM and Tesla in pivoting their production to begin making PPE.

Life Spine’s main products are designed to help with vertebral fusion surgeries. For the immediate future the company, in partnership with Gizmo Medical, will be producing surgical masks and gowns.

“Life Spine and Gizmo have moved to leverage our long-standing relationship and come together to help meet an imminent need for personal protective equipment and medical equipment,” said Michael Butler, president and CEO of Life Spine, in a release. “Production is underway and we look forward to supporting those who are on the front lines and faced with potential shortages.”

PPE mask shortageThere is a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and respirators for health care providers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.

Mesoblast

There is currently no vaccine and no credible medical treatment for COVID-19 as of this writing. Antimalarial drugs such as Aralen (chloroquine) and Plaqunil (hydroxycholoquine) have been making headlines as possible treatments, but their efficacy is very much in question and their side effects can be severe and even fatal.

Rest assured, though, that pharmaceutical companies around the world are scrambling to find effective treatments and, hopefully, a cure for COVID-19. One such drugmaker joining the race is Mesoblast. Mesoblast manufactures mesenchymal stem cells used for their purported anti-inflammatory properties to treat, among other diseases, degenerative disc disease.

Now, the Australian company wants to repurpose its drug Ryoncil (remestemcel-L), originally used to help prevent the body’s rejection of bone marrow transplants in kids with leukemia, to treat acute respiratory stress syndrome (ARDS) caused by coronavirus. The company said in a release that the drug has helped people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and hopes to trial Ryoncil for ARDS in the next few months.

Christ Hospital

Christ Hospital in Cincinnati has acknowledged that the demand for spine procedures is rapidly dwindling, and that, like all other medical facilities, it wants to preserve its operating rooms, beds and PPE for the coronavirus response. That’s why the facility has decided to convert its Joint and Spine Center into a drive-through coronavirus testing facility.

Unfortunately, due to high demand for and low supply of coronavirus testing kits, the hospital had to delay opening of its Joint and Spine Center testing and close its main campus testing center on March 20. No word yet on when either will (re)open.

Spine Clinics Across the Country

All around the US and, indeed, the world, spine clinics are doing their part to stop the spread of coronavirus. From limiting elective procedures to offering telemedicine appointments, spine specialists are doing what they can to reduce exposure for themselves, their staffs and their patients. Together we’ll get through this pandemics if we all strive to flatten the curve.

What is your spine organization doing to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Tweet us @SpineUniverse and let us know!

 

Updated on: 03/25/20
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