Science

Longtime COVID patients spend their life savings on unproven “blood washing”

in great shape , A plasma donor is attached to an apheresis machine that separates plasma from blood while donating blood plasma for medicines at the Twickenham Donor Center in south west London on April 7, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic is considered by many experts to be a largely disabling event. Although most people make a full recovery from a battle with the highly contagious coronavirus, a significant portion of patients develop lingering, sometimes debilitating symptoms – aka protracted COVID. Estimates of how long COVID patients tolerate symptoms can vary greatly. But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated that nearly one in five COVID patients report persistent symptoms. With hundreds of millions of COVID-19 cases reported around the world, even more modest estimates would still suggest tens of millions have a lasting impact.

Yet, as those patients seek effective care, researchers are still scrambling to define, understand, and treat this new phenomenon. Many patients have reported an uphill battle to find care and relief, including long waits at clinics and few treatment options when seeing a care provider.

Fuck the huts. This situation is ripe for unscrupulous actors to step in and start offering unproven products and treatments – possibly at exorbitant prices. It’s a tried-and-tested model: When modern medicine isn’t yet able to provide evidence-based treatments, desperate, untreated patients swoon to console. Amidst their sympathetic tendencies, they scoff at modern medicine, condemn harsh physicians, and scoff at the slow pace and high cost of clinical trials. As with any wrongly earned trust, these bad actors can foster unproven healing and false hope.

There are already reports of such unproven prolonged COVID treatments in the US, such as supplements, vitamins, infusion, fasting, ozone therapy, and off-label prescribing of medication. But, a British investigation published this week highlights a growing international trend of expensive “blood wash” treatments.

expensive cleaning

Investigations conducted by British outlet ITV News and the British Journal of Medicine have revealed that thousands of long-term COVID patients are traveling to private clinics in various countries, including Switzerland, Germany and Cyprus, to receive blood filtering or apheresis. Not yet proven to cure COVID.

Apheresis is an established medical therapy, but it is used to treat specific conditions by filtering out known problematic components of the blood, such as filtering out LDL (low-density lipoprotein) in people with intractable high cholesterol, or people with high cholesterol. Removal of malignant white blood cells in Leukemia.

In the case of long-term COVID patients, it seems that apheresis treatment is used to remove a variety of incisions that may or may not be problematic. It contains LDL and inflammatory molecules, a strategy initially designed to treat people with heart disease. Internal medicine doctor Beit Jger, who runs the Lipid Center North Rhine in Germany and has long been treating COVID patients, describes the method, which involves filtering the blood through a heparin filter. She also prescribes a cocktail of anticoagulant drugs to tall COVID patients.

Jagger hypothesizes that the blood of people with chronic COVID is much more viscous and contains smaller blood clots. She explains that thinning the blood with medications and apheresis can improve microcirculation and overall health. But there is no evidence that this hypothesis is correct or that the treatment is effective. When Jagger tried to publish his hypothesis in a German medical journal, it was rejected.

Robert Arians, professor of vascular biology at the University of Leeds School of Medicine, told BMJ and ITV that the treatment is premature. For one thing, researchers do not understand how microclots form, if apheresis and anticoagulation drugs reduce them, and if a deficiency also matters for disease. “If we do not know the mechanisms by which microclots are formed and whether or not they are causative of disease, it seems premature to design a treatment to remove microclots, as both apheresis and triple anticoagulation are not without risk. Well, there’s clearly a bleeding,” Arian said.

false hope

Meanwhile, Jagger defended treating patients despite the rejected hypothesis and lack of evidence. She expressed anger at the “dogma” in medicine and claimed she treated patients at her clinic who came in wheelchairs but passed out. “If I see a child in a wheelchair suffering for a year, I prefer to seek treatment and not wait for 100 percent proof,” she said.

And Jagger is not alone; Other clinics have also started offering apheresis for prolonged COVID. The British investigation interviewed a woman in the Netherlands, Gitte Baumeister, who after seeing positive anecdotes online paid more than $60,000 for treatment at a new long COVID clinic in Cyprus – almost all of her savings. Desperate for relief from her protracted COVID symptoms, the woman signed a questionable consent form filled with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and half-sentences that waived her rights.

Daniel Sokol, a London-based barrister and medical ethicist, said the form would be invalid under English and Welsh law. He told investigators, “You can’t say, ‘By the way, you agree not to sue us if we inflict horrific hurt or kill you, even if it was through our own negligence. ” “you can not do it.”

In a Cyprus clinic, Baumeister found apheresis along with a battery of other unproven treatments, including vitamin infusions, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, anticoagulants, and hydroxychloroquine, which is notoriously ineffective against COVID-19. After two months in Cyprus, subjecting himself to various treatments and emptying his bank account, Baumeister said he didn’t see any improvement in his debilitating symptoms, which included heart palpitations, chest pain, Includes shortness of breath and brain fog.

“I think they should put more emphasis on the experimental nature of the treatment, especially because it’s so expensive,” Baumeister said. “Before I started I realized the outcome was uncertain, but everyone in the clinic is so positive that you even start to believe it and raise your hopes.”

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