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In this prospective observational study, authors investigated the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection through ECMO and dialysis. They did not find SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the membrane oxygenator gas outlet or in effluent dialysis fluid.
The authors claim that this is a first study investigating the risks of COVID-19 dissemination through extracorporeal circuits, and its findings are reassuring. ECMO and dialysis are not a source of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and antiviral filters are not needed for these procedures.
– Morgan Soffler, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become a major worldwide health threat in just a few weeks (1). Intensive care unit (ICU) admission and the recourse to extracorporeal organ support, such as continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) or veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) may be needed in the most severe forms of the disease (2). Since SARS-CoV-2 viremia has been reported in some cases (3), it has been hypothesized that this small virus (average size of 125 nanometers (4) could pass through polymethylpentene ECMO membranes or acrylonitrile/sodium methallylsulfonate CRRT membranes. In this study, we investigated whether SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in the dialysis effluent fluid or in the condensate collected from the ECMO membrane exhalation port (gas outlet), when the virus was present in the lower respiratory tract and the plasma.