Lessons from 1918 Spanish flu help fight AI
Uniformed Services University of the Health
Sciences (USU) faculty have discovered that a treatment for
the Spanish influenza pandemic may also be effective for current avian influenza
Officers Edward Kilbane, Jeffrey Jackson and Thomas
Luke and retired officer Stephen Hoffman published their research late last week
in the online edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine
The four researchers analysed medical literature
reported during the Spanish flu
pandemic of 1918 to 1920. They found that
transfusions with blood products from Spanish flu survivors may have reduced the
risk of death in seriously ill Spanish flu patients.
The meta-analysis of these data show that treatment of patients in 1918
with convalescent whole blood, plasma or serum obtained from humans who had
recovered from Spanish influenza resulted in a reduced mortality of seriously
ill patients by 50%.
The next steps would be a study to determine if
treatment of patients with convalescent plasma containing anti-H5N1 antibodies
from recovered from patients could lead to similar results for patients with avian
â€œPlasma is produced in local hospitals worldwide and transfusions might be
useful in treating bird flu patients during outbreaks and pandemics, especially
in light of the limitations of existing treatment options,â€ Commander Luke said.
â€œA single recovered bird-flu patient could donate a weekly volume of plasma
sufficient to treat many patients with H5N1 influenza.â€
Their article titled, â€œConvalescent Blood Products for Spanish Influenza
Pneumonia: A Future H5N1 Treatment?â€ will be published in the October17 print
edition of Annals of Internal Medicine.
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