Plasma treatment initiated by a Hungarian company was added to the database of international clinical trials as the first Hungarian investigational therapy against the coronavirus, said Zsombor Lacza to Info Rádio, Vice-Rector for Science at the University of Physical Education, who is leading the research. OrthoSera Kft. prepares plasma therapy with the support of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, in cooperation with the Semmelweis University and the University of Pécs Virological Research Group.
"Those who recovered, they recovered because their blood has produced an antibody that has defeated the virus. If this plasma is extracted from their blood and given to patients who are in a severe, acute phase when the virus replicates in their bodies, they get help very quickly. It is called passive immunization and it has been used for decades against various diseases", said Zsombor Lacza.
OrthoSera is a company that develops innovative blood serum therapies. Its target group is joint regeneration and bone replacement but in response to the challenge posed by the coronavirus epidemic, the company is devoting its research and manufacturing capabilities entirely to the development of an antiviral serum therapy. The researchers have found, comparing their own previous and recent data in the international literature, that the "cytokine storm" caused by the coronavirus, which means excessive activity in the body's inflammatory response, is similar to the cytokine patterns found in OrthoSera measurements. Previous studies have shown that the addition of healthy serum can inhibit inflammatory cytokines. All this has raised the possibility that using serum therapy in coronavirus patients can achieve significant progress in the condition of the patients.
Several studies have shown that by measuring cytokine patterns, it is possible to predict which patient is at increased risk for serious complications, on the other hand, by administering a healthy serum, the viral disease can also be cured. Important fact: if a healthy serum is donated by a person who has already been infected and has high levels of antibodies in their blood, treatment can have two effects: on the one hand, it reduces inflammation, and on the other hand, it inactivates the viruses.
"Trials now reveal in which phase of the disease this kind of help can be provided," added Zsombor Lacza. This procedure can therefore help the body to fight, on its own, the (lung) inflammation caused by the coronavirus. They are currently searching for people who have recovered from the coronavirus and have a lot of antibodies in their bodies.
The procedure is by the way a relatively small sacrifice for those recovered between the ages of 18 and 60, it takes half an hour, and may be repeated every 3-4 days. A Facebook page has already been created to locate those affected, but the research team also expects recovered coronavirus patients to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 06-70-363-87-68.
The main partners of the researchers in the production of the antiserum are Kedplazma Kft. and the Hungarian National Blood Transfusion Service, and the treatment of the patients will be started by the research group at the Semmelweis University. The measurement of antiviral antibody levels is performed by the only laboratory in Hungary capable of examining live viruses, with the highest level of safety classification, the University of Pécs Virological Research Group.