Omega3 rich Atlantic cod skins from wild Icelandic cod, the outgrowth of an Icelandic research project, are helping medical doctors treat burns, chronic skin wounds, hernia and dura repairs and reinforcement of gastrointestinal stapled incisions.
The full-thickness wild cod meshed skin grafts, gently processed by Kerecis, in Isafjordur, Iceland, 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle, have been successfully used to date to treat both people and an array of animals ranging from dogs, horses, turkeys, turtles to llamas.
Kerecis’ stated mission is “to extend life by supporting the body’s own ability to regenerate.”
The product itself, which has a shelf life of five years, is processed fish dermal matrix composed of fish collagen and is supplied as a sterile intact, or meshed sheet, ranging in size from 3 x 3.5 cm and 3 x 7 cm to 7 x 10 cm.
Currently Kerecis, which began commercial operations in 2013, is in discussion with medical personnel in Australia, and working with animal organizations also in Australia, to help koalas and kangaroos injured in devastating forest fires plaguing that nation.
A spokesperson for the company, Kay Paumier in Campbell, Calif., said that Kerecis shipped 500 units of Kerecis Omega3 Burn to New Zealand in the wake of the Dec. 9, 2019 volcano eruption on White Island, along with Kerecis medical director Dr. Hilmar Kjartansson who trained doctors in how to use the processed skins.
Kerecis has also donated several grafts to charitable veterinary cases based on the need of the animal, including an 18-month-old female Rottweiler named Stella, who was treated at the veterinary hospital at Michigan State University for extensive burns and lung injuries suffered in a house fire, which required a different kind of treatment. Doctors at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine said Stella’s case offered proof that further investigations into using an acellular fish skin omega-3 rich graft should be undertaken in dogs with open wound healing. Placement of this product does not require anesthesia and can be used in cases where there is concern for respiratory stability, as was the case with Steller, who made a complete recovery.
Kerecis uses North Atlantic cod fish (Gadus Morhua), which is in ample supply in Iceland. Paumier noted that the fish is sustainably harvested in pristine waters and comes from a supply chain that uses every part of the fish. The manufacturing process of medical-grade fish skin uses only green energy. “As the business expands, we are constantly reviewing options for providing raw materials and will look to multiple locations based on the market need,” she said. Kerecis holds patents for the medical use of fish skin regardless of the type of fish. “We are constantly evaluating new ways to bring innovative products to market. We actively pursue research and product-development initiatives to increase our source material and applicability of our sustainable approach to healing through the power of fish skin.”