In a survey published in England, we learned that many patients with prolonged COVID-19 go to private clinics in Cyprus, Germany and Switzerland to undergo apheresis, a blood purification treatment commonly used for patients with lipid disorders.
According to a survey conducted by British media ITV News and published on July 12, thousands of people with symptoms of the long-term Covid disease will travel abroad to search for expensive and unproven treatments such as “blood dialysis” or apheresis.
Current research has found that ‘micro-clots’ in the plasma of people with long-term COVID-19 may be responsible for the symptoms that afflict millions of people after contracting COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that between 10% and 20% of patients experience symptoms for at least two months after an acute infection with Covid-19.
However, there is currently no treatment recognized by the international medical community to combat the disease. Barring that for several months, informal treatment will give patients hope. Apheresis involves inserting needles into each arm and passing blood through a filter, separating red blood cells from plasma. The plasma is filtered before it recombines with the red blood cells and is returned to the body through another vein.
So some clinicians believe that apheresis and anticoagulant drugs can be a promising response to the long-term treatment of COVID-19. But voices are already rising to denounce a commercial practice that runs counter to medical ethics. Because it has not yet been proven that microclots are the cause of the long-term Covid disease.
With the risk of desperate patients spending exorbitant amounts on invasive and unproven treatments. In the scientific community, there is protest against such an “experimental” treatment that should only be done within the framework of a clinical trial.
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One of the patients followed by the journalists traveled to Cyprus to follow up on “blood washing” or apheresis. This Dutch woman on Facebook, in a group dedicated to long-time Covid patients, discovered the existence of this protocol. Thus she spent more than 50,000 euros on her medical trip to Cyprus but returned home without any improvement in her symptoms. She received six cycles of apheresis, as well as nine cycles of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and intravenous vitamin injections at Posidonia’s private clinic.
In Germany, in another clinic located in Mülheim, a similar treatment for apheresis has been offered since February 2021 for patients with symptoms of the long-term Covid disease. According to the doctor in charge of the program, thousands of people have been successfully treated, and testimonials have been widely disseminated on social networks. Admittedly, this clinic’s chief medical officer, Dr. Pete Jaeger, acknowledges that this is an experimental treatment. But during clinical trials, the doctor prefers to try the treatment directly on desperate patients. The price of the treatment will not exceed 10,000 euros but it is already a huge amount for an unrecognized treatment. With health risks to be taken into consideration.
Experts contacted by ITV News said more research is needed to understand how microclots form and whether they cause prolonged Covid symptoms. Particular concern is that patients are not followed up when they leave clinics after being prescribed anticoagulants.