Transfusions may help with pandemicPublished On: Tue, Aug 29th, 2006 | Health | By BioNews
A single recovering bird-flu patient could donate a weekly volume of plasma to treat multiple patients with bird flu, say authors of a study on Spanish Flu.
Researchers studied medical literature published shortly after the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and found eight relevant studies that suggest similar transfusions might be useful in treating victims of a bird-flu pandemic.
Current recommended treatment for avian flu is hospitalization and treatment with an anti-viral drug, but studies of bird-flu outbreaks in Asia have found that 30 percent to 80 percent of patients treated this way have died.
The World Health Organization says the manufacturer of the most currently used drug, oseltamavir, does not have capacity to fill existing orders immediately. During an epidemic, anti-viral agents, antibiotics and other medications may be rationed or not available to the most severely ill patients, say the study authors.