North Carolina company producing light technology that treats COVID-19

STEM

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A company in North Carolina is developing a new technology that will help fight COVID-19.

It’s what EmitBio said will potentially save millions of lives. The handheld device is inserted into the mouth aims precise wavelengths of targeted light at a spot in the back of the throat known as your oropharynx. It’s turned on for five minutes, and later that same day the treatment is repeated.

The light it emits interacts with the cells of the body and COVID-19.

“So, the virus wants to make many copies of itself so it’s doing that continuously inside the cell. And we’re able to disable that property and that takes care of everything,” said EmitBio Executive Chairman Neal Hunter.

Hunter said the technology stops the virus from making copies of itself. The key is that you need to have mild to moderate symptoms within 72 hours for it to be most effective.

The Durham based company’s recent clinical trial found that four days of treatment achieved a 99.9 percent reduction in the average amount of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, in the body.

“And the amazing thing was after seven days in our active population — so folks who were using our treatment — 60 percent of those people were negative, so they went from positive to negative in 7 days,” Hunter said.

If approved, patients would be prescribed the at-home treatment and could get it at their drugstore. With much of the population likely to not get a vaccine for months, this is seen as a game-changing therapeutic.

That includes treating new variants that vaccines may have trouble fighting “because we can tweak our power or our wavelength, things like that, if we need to. And so, that to me is another big part of this,” Hunter explained.

As the company waits for emergency use approval from the FDA EmitBio said it can produce 500 million devices by the end of the year. Hunter hopes to receive FDA emergency use within the next two to four weeks.

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