Is plasma ionized gas dangerous

Cold plasma effective against the coronavirus in initial tests


Cold atmospheric plasma - i.e. ionized air - can render Sars-CoV-2 viruses harmless in cell cultures and is therefore being tested for use in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

Many seriously ill Covid-19 patients are not struggling with the coronavirus alone. About half of the people who received artificial respiration and who died anyway were also infected with dangerous bacteria during their hospital stay. Cold plasma therapy could prevent such superinfections and also reduce the risk of hospital staff contracting the coronavirus. This is indicated by the first preliminary tests in which cold atmospheric plasma - i.e. ionized air - rendered Sars-CoV-2 harmless in cell cultures. In order to clarify whether cold plasma can actually help in the treatment of the disease, studies have now been initiated both in cell cultures and with Covid 19 patients. This is what the Max Planck Society reports.

Plasma is the fuel of the stars. In a highly diluted, cold variant, ionized gas, or more precisely ionized air, also eliminates bacteria from chronically infected wounds, for example. The atmospheric plasma also kills some viruses, such as Julia Zimmermann, head of technical development at a company (named terraplasma medical), together with various cooperation partners in studies with noro- and adenoviruses in solution. And it could also help treat Covid-19 patients. "We have indications from initial tests that cold atmospheric plasma kills coronaviruses in solution," reports Jens Kirsch, managing director of the same company. "This is particularly interesting for us because the viruses are also found on mucous membranes in liquids, for example in saliva."

The researchers carried out the first investigations together with a team led by Albrecht von Brunn, a scientist at the Max von Pettenkofer Institute of the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich. The preliminary finding that cold plasma can kill the coronavirus gave rise to further studies. Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine, a more comprehensive analysis is to be carried out of how cold atmospheric plasma affects viruses in cell cultures. On the other hand, studies on patients are planned together with the clinics of the University of Regensburg and the LMU. The clinical studies are possible without the otherwise usual animal experiments, not least because the researchers here can build on previous studies. "We already know that cold plasmas do not damage the mucous membranes if we use the right plasma design and the dose does not exceed certain limit values," explains Gregor Morfill, former director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, founder of the company terraplasma and scientist Consultant to terraplasma medical.

The researchers want to use the studies to answer various questions. You don't just want to clarify whether treatment with cold plasma can prevent artificially ventilated Covid-19 patients from becoming infected with hospital germs and thus significantly worsening the chances of recovery. They also want to find out whether ionized air significantly reduces the viral load in the mouth, nose and throat of Covid-19 patients. This could not only help to reduce the risk of infection for medical staff in intensive care units. "We hope that we can prevent Covid-19 patients whose lungs are still free of the virus from spreading from the mouth, nose and throat area into the lower respiratory tract in the long term," says Jens Kirsch. "In this way, the proportion of Covid-19 patients who have to be treated in intensive care units or even have to be artificially ventilated could be reduced."

In order to be able to use the cold plasma in the upper respiratory tract, a device that is used to treat chronically infected wounds has been converted so that it can generate cold atmospheric plasma. However, before doctors can use it to treat the first Covid 19 patients, the clinical studies must first be approved by the responsible ethics committee. “We expect the first results in six to seven months,” says Gregor Morfill.

Source: Max Planck Society & CoronaCorona
Medicine plasma physics