"AW" (Arguments Weekly) has repeatedly written about the company called Viavitalis. Our permanent readers remember the story about onkofag, the medication helps for kidney cancer, which the company has been trying to introduce to the Russian market. It is has been blocked in fact by so called medicine merchants. Money for them is much more important than the thousands of sick people’s lives. We learned that Viavitalis now is engaged in a new and no less a breakthrough project - an artificial blood. Our reporter went over the details to Zelenograd, Moscow region.
The facts that Vyacheslav Beklemyshev, project leader, told us are amazing.
The problem of donated blood on Earth has existed for ages. These are: dependence on donors; the difficulty of storage and transportation; strict adherence to blood group; the probability of infection by AIDS, hepatitis C, etc. Many scientists of the most advanced countries have been struggling to resolve these problems trying to create artificial blood. Some have made a progress.
But the real breakthrough was made in the USSR in 80s. The impetus was the war in Afghanistan. It required a lot of blood for wounded soldiers’ transfusion.
It was called the "blue blood" when the first example of artificial blood or in a scientific way - transfusion liquid was made and it was of a bluish color. Its main task is to supply internal organs of human with oxygen.
Developing a new medication is a lengthy process. It is necessary to pass laboratory, preclinical and clinical trials that stretch for decades sometimes. But in the Soviet Union it was found possible to prevent an acute need for medical use in an expedited manner the medication that was called perftoran. Perftoran is biocompatible, not tied to blood groups and free from viruses. So the war helped for medicine suddenly.
Foreign developers of similar medications are still at the stage of clinical trials. Our scientists have gained a huge head start, which they used in full. For over 25 years of practical application of perftoran the unique research results and observations, which revealed its positive and negative sides, have been accumulated.
The main disadvantage of perftoran is a low excrete speed from the human body.
The second problem - perftoran must be stored in a deep freeze at a temperature below -180 C. This can be achieved only in a hospital. So it cannot be provided for ambulances, where he is most often needed.
The third drawback - perftoran is difficult to access small capillaries. Roughly speaking, the “ball” size is too big. After all, what is perftoran in fact? This is an emulsion of a fluorinated compound in a saline.
Experts under the auspices of Viavitalis have initiatively set a goal to develop a medication that is free of these drawbacks.
Ahead of the competition
The specialists of the Institute of Theoretic and Experimental Biophysics of Russian Academy of Sciences (ITEB RAS), based in Puschino, Moscow region and NPO “PiM-Invest” company have been involved into this project. The founder of that company, professor S.M.Igumnov was working in the Institute of Organoelement Compounds of Russian Academy of Sciences named after A.N.Nesmeyanov (INEOS RAS), where perftoran was once created.
The positive feedback has been issued by a potential partner, the Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA of Russia), which is responsible in the country for the artificial blood issue.
To solve the problem of excrete acceleration, the scientists began to deal with the synthesis of perfluorinated and bromine-containing compounds. In the same direction overseas colleagues and competitors are moving.
But there is one small detail that allows our scientists to go ahead. That formula of compounds used by the western scientists is under the prohibition of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. So it does not meet the requirements of the international legislation on environmental protection. And the Convention shall enter into force in 2015.
Bromine-containing perfluorocarbons are extremely stable and inert, they are not destructed even under high temperatures and acids and not decomposed in the environment. Such compounds are used not only in medicine, but for example in microelectronics. But starting 2015, their production will be banned. That will be a serious problem for developers in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Our team of chemists managed to change the structure of the molecule so it becomes biodegradable. And the Russian innovation is no longer subject to the ban!
Such a development cycle lasts for eight years. So we are seriously ahead of the competition and it’s unreasonable not to take advantage of it.
The key is that the main task has been solved now. The new medication, called oksagem, can be stored at a temperature just below zero - 2-40 C. So now just a simple thermos, which can be arranged in each ambulance, is quite enough for storage.
Moreover, it solves the completely unexpected problems. Let’s consider, for instance, the international missions to Mars. In addition to the bulk of technical, psycho physiological and other problems, there must be a blood bank - anything can happen in space, and assistance is nowhere to wait from. Oksagem solves that problem. Or in case of any manmade or natural disaster with many victims - how many people have died due to lack of blood or plasma? Oksagem would have saved them - it has a long shelf life and, therefore, it can be stored in large quantities.
Oksagem has revealed one another unexpected application area - storage of artificial and donated human organs. After all, the organs must not be frozen. Oksagem solves this problem. In addition to that, like any emulsion, oksagem can not only bring oxygen to human bodies, but also to take wastes off, so it can be used to clean the body. These applications, along with the key one, make the product unique and they are the serious jokers in communicating with possible investors.
What is happening is very difficult to overestimate. Viavitalis has focused on international cooperation before, but with the "blue blood" the results are simply stunning.
Just imagine - EU countries are currently increasing sanctions against Russia, especially in the high-tech sector. Against this background, the Russian company development is of a great interest in Europe!
In November 2014 oksagem was presented at the world's largest salon of innovations in Seoul, Korea where 34 countries from the Pacific region, Africa, Australia and Europe were attended. Oksagem authors have participated in Medicine sector and they won Grand Prix in that nomination.
More recently, in Brussels Viavitalis project received the highest European award for achievements in international inventive activity – Order of the Grand Officer.
The European vector is not surprising. It’s useless to develop such project not being export-oriented. Russia is quite huge but limited market anyway.
And the work result of Viavitalis seems to bring not only rewards, but also certain results. As we know, the project shows a great interest from the specialists and businessmen from Spain. In January 2015, the big delegation will arrive to Moscow. Among the guests: Luis Zapatero, the Head of the lawyer company, providing the service for the government of Spain; Manuel Llombart, Minister of Health of Valencia; Jesus Lopez, and few other reputable businessmen.
It should be noted that the very special presentation of oksagem will take place on January 17, 2015 at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. As spoken by Viavitalis reps, ROC is favorable to the project. Blood and all that goes with it is the theme of the sacred for the Church. And Spain is known to be very religious country. So the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church will be most welcome.
Viavitalis plans to conduct international clinical trials of oksagem. This idea was approved in the FMBA of Russia.