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Scientists unveil magnetic cure for blood toxins

(AFP) Scientists said Sunday they had invented a device that uses a magnet to extract bacteria, fungi and toxins from blood, potentially throwing a lifeline to patients with sepsis and other infections.
The external gadget -- tested so far in rats but not yet humans -- could be adapted one day for stripping Ebola and other viruses from blood, they hoped. Acting rather like a spleen, the invention uses magnetic nanobeads coated with a genetically-engineered human blood protein called MBL. The MBL binds to pathogens and toxins, which can then be "pulled out" with a magnet, the developers wrote in the journal Nature Medicine.
The "bio-spleen" was developed to treat sepsis, or blood infection, which affects 18 million people in the world every year, with a 30-50 percent mortality rate.
The microbes that cause it are often resistant to antibiotics, and spread fast.
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