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Coronavirus: Blood Plasma Therapy Promising, Recovered Patients Asked to Donate Blood

Fanni Kaszás 2020.04.29.

In a scientific collaboration, two patients from Semmelweis University who tested positive for coronavirus, have received the already licensed serum infused with the blood plasma of healed COVID-19 patients. The serum was developed by a group of Hungarian research physicians, together with Semmelweis University and the Virology Center of the University of Pécs.

The serum was given to a 57-year-old male patient at the University’s Pulmonology Clinic, and a 75-year-old male patient at the Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Clinic, with no complications during and after the transfusions.

photo: Attila Kovács/Semmelweis University

The essence of plasma therapy is to use an antibody produced in the blood of those who have already recovered from a disease. Medical examinations and scientific research carried out during the epidemic show that an excessive immune reaction in the blood of severe patients, the so-called “Cytokine storm,” can be suppressed by the addition of the serum, extracted from the blood plasma of already recovered patients.

In order to produce more of this serum and help even more patients, authorities and the research group are waiting for applicants who have recovered from the coronavirus and are willing to donate blood plasma for the treatments.

Péter Andréka, Director General of the György Gottsegen National Institute of Cardiology, who recovered from his coronavirus disease, donates blood plasma at the Biotest plasmapheresis station in Budapest. (photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI)

On Tuesday’s press conference of the Operative Board, Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller said that in order to help the project, she sent out 80 letters to those who were most likely to have contracted the disease with more severe symptoms, making them fit to produce antibodies in their blood, allowing them to participate in the blood plasma program.

For example, swimmers of the Hungarian national team, who contracted the coronavirus and recently tested positive, have decided to help patients in serious condition by donating blood plasma. The announcement of the Hungarian Swimming Association revealed that Boglárka Kapás, Dominik Kozma, Richárd Bohus, and Dávid Horváth will all undergo a public test and will give blood plasma at the University of Physical Education on April 30th in order to contribute to the therapy.

photo: Attila Kovács/Semmelweis University

Additional donors who have already healed from the disease – primarily those between 18-60 years old – and have not noticed any symptoms for the last 5-6 weeks, are also encouraged to apply. Applicants can apply through in e-mail or +36-70-363-87-68 by phone.

The serum was developed with the support of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (ITM), with the participation of Semmelweis University, and the Virology Research Group of the University of Pécs, under the supervision of Zsombor Lacza, scientific vice-rector of the University of Physical Education as well as vice-president of OrthoSera Kft. The main partners of the researchers in the production of the anti-serum are KEDPLASMA Hungary and the Hungarian National Blood Transfusion Service, while the treatment of patients is realized with the help of Semmelweis University.

featured photo: Attila Kovács/Semmelweis University