MANILA -- After health officials downplayed the benefits of convalescent plasma therapy, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) gave the green light to study this experimental treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a statement on Sunday, July 5, 2020, Malacañang said the DOST is funding the study that is being undertaken by the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
“We note that the study is banking on the use of convalescent plasma taken from the blood of patients who have recovered from the infection, and therefore contains neutralizing antibodies against the virus,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
“We hope this study will yield positive results and be our country's contribution to the global effort to develop Covid-19 treatment,” he added.
Convalescent plasma is extracted from the blood of Covid-19 survivors. It is transfused into severely or critically ill patients.
The therapy was used to fight off flu before a vaccine was developed. It was also used to treat ebola and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), a disease caused by a coronavirus similar to Sars-CoV-2 which causes Covid-19.
In Cebu City, the Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital reported that a severely ill patient has recovered from Covid-19 after undergoing convalescent plasma therapy.
In Mandaue City, officials are building a pool of possible convalescent plasma donors.
The Palace did not specify the number of patients that will be covered by the PGH study.