New Jersey Patent of the Month – March 2024

ElectroCore, Inc. was founded to bring neuromodulation to help patients suffering from pain and chronic conditions. The company has recently been granted a patent for a neuromodulation-based approach to treating patients afflicted by Coronaviridae viruses – like those responsible for COVID-19. The patented method uses electrical impulses to stimulate the vagus nerve transcutaneously through a contact surface positioned on the outer skin surface of the patient’s neck.

The significance of this invention lies in its ability to address the challenges posed by replicating pathogens, such as viruses, which often evade the body’s immune response and lead to severe health complications. COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has presented significant challenges globally, with varying degrees of severity among patients, including respiratory distress, inflammatory responses, and abnormal blood clotting.

Traditional treatments for inflammatory conditions and bronchoconstriction often involve medications with potential side effects and limitations, especially when dealing with viral infections. ElectroCore’s method offers a novel alternative by harnessing the body’s natural pathways, particularly the Cholinergic Anti-inflammatory Pathway (CAP), through vagal nerve stimulation.

By applying electrical impulses to the vagus nerve, ElectroCore’s method aims to modulate inflammatory responses, reduce levels of inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and procalcitonin, and inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines like tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. Additionally, the method shows promise in mitigating bronchoconstriction, thereby improving respiratory function, crucial for conditions like acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) commonly seen in severe COVID-19 cases.

This approach offers potential benefits in preventing abnormal blood clotting, a complication observed in COVID-19 patients, by reducing levels of clotting-related biomarkers such as D-dimer. By modulating the immune response without suppressing it entirely, ElectroCore’s method seeks to strike a balance, providing relief while allowing the immune system to combat the virus effectively.

What sets this method apart is its adaptability and personalized approach. Treatment paradigms can be tailored based on individual patient needs, adjusting parameters such as frequency, duration, and intensity of electrical impulses. Furthermore, feedback systems enable real-time monitoring of biomarkers, ensuring optimal therapeutic outcomes while minimizing side effects.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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