On socials and WhatsApp go crazy posts and videos that enhance the effectiveness against the Coronavirus of hyperimmune plasma therapy: all you need to know.
Is plasma therapy really effective against the Coronavirus? This is the question that many Italians have been asking themselves in the last twenty-four hours. On Sunday, May 3, many web content began to circulate with insistence that praises the almost “miraculous” effectiveness of a health protocol tested at the Carlo Poma Hospital in Mantua that uses plasma to treat the effects of the Coronavirus. Apparently, everything started from a Whatsapp message and a Facebook post. The Whatsapp message reads:
“I’ll give you some good news, sure, that came officially from the hospital in Mantua The deaths from Covid-19 have been zeroed out for almost a month. And we live in Lombardy, the epicentre of the epidemic. I repeat, RESET. Even subjects almost given up as dead, transported to Mantua, are cured. No miracles, simply in Mantua as you know (and in Pavia) they used and tested hyperimmune plasma (obtained from the blood of the healed). The testing phase is completed and the report that will be released soon will be surprising.
So the cure would exist, and it would cost almost zero. The only limit is that we need donors, but with the Avis network this is possible also thanks to the work of sensitization (in Mantua those who come out healed from the hospital donate blood with pleasure). The well known virologist Burioni, the one who said that in Italy the danger was zero, now goes on TV (paid handsomely) to say that plasma has a limit, and that a synthesized drug would be better (who knows why)”.
Attached to the message is a Facebook post published by Dr. Giuseppe De Donno, head of the Department of Pneumatology at the Carlo Poma Hospital in Mantua:
Mr. scientist (Professor Roberto Burioni, ed.), the one who, despite having said that the Coronavirus would never arrive in Italy, was late to notice the hyperimmune plasma.
Perhaps the Professor does not know what the neutralization test is. Maybe he doesn’t know the methods of plasma control. Since we have AVIS’ support.
I forgive him. Me little suburban pulmonologist. Me who’s never been invited by Fazio or Vespa.
Now, he’s going to talk about hyperimmune plasma. And Franchini and I will shrug our shoulders, because…
It’s important to save lives!
Have a good life, then, Professor Burioni. We’ve given you a chance to talk some more. My patients thank you.
PS: I see you’re already raving about how to turn a free democratic donation into a “thing” synthesized by a pharmaceutical company.
We’re not mumbo jumbo!
PS: share it friends. Maybe we’ll get to Prof. And I can ask him for an autograph!
NB: if you share the post, be careful! My introduction disappears. Only the Professor’s panegyric remains! Facebook explain us?
These contents have quickly made the tour of social media and have led many Italians (and many newspapers) to wonder what is true behind the plasma therapy against Coronavirus.
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Coronavirus: Does plasma therapy really work?
Plasma is a component of the blood: it contains proteins, nutrients, metabolic products, hormones and inorganic electrolytes, but it is cell-free. According to some researchers, patients suffering from very severe forms of COVID-19 could be treated with “hyperimmune plasma”, i.e. the plasma of people healed by Coronavirus because this substance is rich in antibodies. Once injected into the blood of patients, the antibodies in the plasma would help the patient’s body to fight the virus. The first to experience this therapy were the doctors at the Shanghai Hospital in China in February. In Italy, the hospitals in Pavia and Mantua have just completed a trial that would have led to very satisfactory results. “The results seen in individual cases have been surprising,” said the head of Immunohaematology and Transfusion Medicine of Poma di Mantova. “Now with colleagues from Pavia we are reviewing all the cases, evaluating the clinical and instrumental response, to draw general conclusions on what is a specific therapy against COVID-19″.
Pending further data, the Higher Institute of Health has expressed a very cautious opinion. ISS experts have stated that: “it is evident that polyclonal antibodies capable of neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 virus are developed in animal models as a result of natural or experimental infection. Preliminary evidence is being consolidated that plasma transfusion from convalescent subjects to SARS-CoV-2 patients can be therapeutically effective. The role of non-neutralizing antibodies, which in the case of SARS in some cases have “stimulated” viral replication, should be further investigated. However, it is still difficult to identify the linear or conformational target portions of the S protein on which to base the production of monoclonal antibodies for therapeutic purposes on a large scale”.
At the moment, therefore, doubts remain about the efficacy and (above all) the applicability of hyperimmune plasma therapy on a large scale.