American scientists are studying a new treatment to contain the new coronavirus based on the transfusion of plasma between patients already cured and patients still infected with the disease. The initiative has nothing to do with the false news that hemotherapy could prevent Covid-19.
According to a magazine report The Wired, the process corresponds to a type of serotherapy that introduces patients blocking antibodies of the spiny proteins used by the virus to infect human cells.
The research, however, is in its initial stage and still has no evidence of its effectiveness. However, in the opinion of Florian Kramer, a virologist at the University of Mont Sinai in front of the project, the treatment is promising.
He says the technique was used to treat patients in China. The Chinese researchers’ data, however, were never revealed. Kramer also cites a study published in the scientific journal Lancet Infectious Diseases that points to evidence of the use of convalescent plasma in the treatment of other viruses, such as SARS, MERS, H1N1 and Ebola.
To develop serotherapy against Covid-19, Kramer conducts experiments with the genetic material of the new coronavirus in an attempt to reproduce the spiny protein in the laboratory. The researcher then intends to apply the material to a blood sample to observe how antibodies would react to the protein.
The objective is to develop a method to encourage the production of antibodies, as well as to measure the volume of these agents in the blood of the recovered patient. Only then would it be possible to identify whether a donor is suitable and what is the right volume of plasma to be administered to the patient with the active coronavirus.
Kramer’s initiative is already supported by more than 100 laboratories across the United States. On the other hand, it does not have the support of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nor the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) – a kind of American Anvisa.
With an eye on accelerating the approval of treatment, the idea of the researchers to conduct the studies while elaborating arguments for the compassionate use of serotherapy. In other words, the test in patients with very severe cases of Covid-19, in which there are no treatment alternatives and the family allows the use of experimental drugs.
A second possibility is to apply the treatment to health professionals who can come in contact with the virus, in order to induce the immunity of these people. It is worth remembering again that there is no evidence that the treatment would be able to promote the promised immunity.
According to The Wired, however, at a news conference on Monday, United States Coronavirus off task coordinator Deborah Brix said the FDA is considering testing serotherapy treatments as soon as an option is developed in the country.
Recently, the organization released experiments with hydroxychloroquine, an antiviral that has shown positive results in a few studies.
However, even if approved by health authorities, treatment would still face structural challenges. The report points out, for example, that it would be necessary to mobilize the activities of American blood banks on a large scale, in proportions never before practiced in the country.
In addition, it would be necessary to elaborate complex logistics to collect the blood of patients already recovered, test whether the sample is appropriate, prepare the plasma and finally distribute it at the application points.
Source: The Wired
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