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Some British people with long COVID are going to other countries to try “blood washing” and other costly treatments that are not proven to work, The Guardian reports.
“Thousands” are traveling to Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere for anti-clotting and blood filtering efforts, the newspaper says, citing an investigation by the British Medical Journal and ITV News.
The number of Britons with long COVID rose from 1.3 million in January to 2 million in May, according to the Office for National Statistics. In the United Kingdom, long COVID means a patient has new or ongoing symptoms for four weeks or more.
The World Health Organization says up to 20 percent of COVID-19 patients can have symptoms two months after infection.
Currently there’s no specific treatment or cure for people with long-haul symptoms.
Those can include fatigue, shortness of breath, and joint pain. Neurological symptoms can include brain fog, blurred vision, and headache.
One treatment being conducted is called apheresis. It is normally used to treat lipid disorders. Blood is drawn and filtered, and the plasma “is then recombined with red blood cells and returned to the body via a different vein,” The Guardian says.
The newspaper reported on one patient who went to Cypress for such treatment, plus hyperbaric oxygen therapy and an IV vitamin drip. Despite spending $50,000, she saw no improvement in symptoms.
A doctor in Germany said she has treated thousands of long-COVID patients at her clinic. She acknowledged her treatments are experimental but said millions of people worldwide have long COVID while clinical trials drag on.
Doctors say they understand why people seek such unproven help but worry the financial cost outweighs the possible benefit.
The Guardian: “Thousands seeking unproven long Covid blood treatments abroad”
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