Correction Nr. 1:
Reported: “Two months later she (Gitte Boumeester) was back home in the Netherlands, having spent nearly all her savings - more than €50.000”
Correction: Gitte Boumeester has not paid 50.000 Euros of her life savings for her therapies. The calculation of the listed therapies sums up to 11.560 Euros. She also had collected 4000 Euros by a gofundme campaign. (Update: The BMJ has now changed it, but it is still featured in all other media outlet reports: The sum spent by Gitte Boumeester was €15 000 (not the €50 000 originally stated). We corrected this on 13 July 2022.)
Correction Nr. 2:
Reported: “The Long Covid Center offers a type of apheresis (heparin induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation or HELP apheresis) where the blood is passed over a heparin filter to filter out unwanted lipids and proteins, a process it says reduces the stickiness of the blood and improves microcirculation. The treatment is normally used as a last resort for patients with lipid disorders that have not responded to other treatments.”
Correction: The H.E.L.P Apheresis system is the only apheresis system on the market that is specifically designed to target the coagulation process. It also supports the fibrinolysis by removing fibrinogen at 68,6% efficiency (Study: Buuren_2012, Zanetti_2014, Mellwig_2003, Mellwig_2006). This explains why it is more efficient than other apheresis system on the market when coagulation issues need to be treated. H.E.L.P as well increases microcirculation in the blood vessels by 20% (see studies quoted further below) plus it has a very high tolerability with low side effects, approximately twice better than other apheresis systems on the market. H.E.L.P Apheresis does at its core what all apheresis systems do – cleaning the blood from pathogens and inflammation. But it does that at highest rates with lowest side effects – one treatment removes approx. 64% of pathogens because of the unique lipid precipitation system. (Study: Moriarty_2001, Zanetti_2014). In H.E.L.P solving coagulation and fibrinolysis issues and boosting the microcirculation is combined with the extra corporal and intensified - through lowered pH value of the blood plasma - use of heparin. Heparin binds to SarsCov2 spike glycoprotein: https://www.sciencedirect.com/.../pii/S002192582101317X
Correction Nr. 3:
Reported: Title: Long covid patients travel abroad for expensive and experimental “blood washing”
Correction: H.E.L.P Apheresis is compared to other apheresis technologies on the lower spectrum of the price level (other apheresis forms range from 2500 Euros to 10.000 Euros), H.E.L.P apheresis ranges from 1300 Euros to 2000 Euros. First private insurances in Germany and Austria started to cover a few H.E.L.P Apheresis for Long Covid treatments, patients reported. H.E.L.P uses 30kg of one-use material per treatment, it is a very sophisticated and ressource-intensive treatment by its nature.
Clinics offer the H.E.L.P treatment under its official and approved indication “microcirculation”, on an EMA approved machine with the most clinical trials in the history of any extracorporeal blood treatment machine by far:
HELP Apheresis has 30 years of clinical experience and over 500,000 documented treatments (200,000 of which are scientifically documented), this is one of the best study situations there is. Studies of all apheresis procedures show a side effect rate of 7.7% of (Study: 2015_Dittrich_Riediger). For HELP this reduces to only 4.6% (2003_Schuff Werner, a very large study with 58,991 HELP apheresis treatments). The high tolerance of HELP is also proven in the following studies (Study: Heigl_2015, Buuren_2012, Dittrich-Riediger_2015).
Documentation of the manufacturer B.Braun of the Plasmat Futura/H.E.L.P Apheresis listing microcirculation issues as official indication: img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/b2de8f6d-68eb-468a-af28-57cb2c7cc722/downloads/LDL_afereza.pdf?ver=1657115646221
Correction Nr. 4:
Reported: ‘Boumeester decided to travel to Cyprus after reading testimonials and research on the website and Facebook page of the Apheresis Association, a group with 4700 members that promotes apheresis as a treatment for long covid. The association was set up and is run by an Austrian businessman, Markus Klotz, who also set up the Long Covid Center in Cyprus. The association coordinates appointments at clinics across Europe that offer the treatment and acts as a patients’ forum. Moderators post positive statements about apheresis as a treatment when only anecdotal evidence exists. “Over 80% of patients report to keep their gains permanently,” one post read. “There are no known risks,” said another. The BMJ contacted the Apheresis Association but did not get a response.
Correction: We contacted the old Apheresis Association Team – the BMJ has never contacted them. Markus Klotz has stopped volunteering for the Apheresis Association end of last year.
Correction Nr. 5:
Reported: Patients with long covid are travelling to private clinics in Cyprus, Germany, and Switzerland for blood filtering apheresis and anticoagulation drugs. Experts question whether these invasive treatments should be offered without sufficient evidence. Madlen Davies reports
Correction: There are no “experts” regarding H.E.L.P Apheresis for Long Covid in the UK. In the whole UK only one H.E.L.P machine (in Cardiff) exists. It has not been used for Long Covid patients.
The treatment is not invasive – see documented treatments above.
To watch a science report about Long Covid, MECFS and H.E.L.P Apheresis by a doctor/professor/science journalist who has not only scientific knowledge and background info, but also did undergo the treatment himself, we can recommend Professor Doctor Hirschhausen’s latest documentary:
Subtitles available at https://www.facebook.com/groups/longcovidapheresiscommunity
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