Philippine Red Cross opens blood plasma center in Manila for COVID-19 patients

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2020 02:41 PM

A nurse (right) checks on a patient who has recovered from the COVID-19 coronavirus as he undergoes a procedure to donate plasma at a hospital in Manila on Wednesday. Scientists have pointed to the potential benefits of plasma -- a blood fluid -- from recovered individuals who have developed antibodies to the COVID-19 coronavirus enabling the body's defenses to attack it. Maria Tan, AFP/File Photo

MANILA - The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Monday opened its convalescent plasma center in the capital city where coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) survivors can donate blood to help those still struggling with the highly-contagious disease.

The convalescent plasma center was opened in the PRC's National Blood Center in Manila after experts attested to the treatment's effectivity in helping patients recover from COVID-19, PRC chair Sen. Richard Gordon said in a statement.

"Pinilit naming magkaroon ng convalescent plasma center para mabigyan ng pag-asa ang mga kababayan natin na may COVID," he said, noting that 9 out of 10 patients who underwent the treatment recovered from COVID-19.

The procedure involves the extraction of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors and giving it to patients who are still battling the disease, as the yellowish blood component is expected to contain anti-bodies against the virus.

COVID-19 survivors who wish to donate blood plasma to the PRC have to be between 18 and 65-years-old, said Dr. Monina Nalupta, director of the Red Cross' National Blood Services.

They will be required to undergo physical and medical examination to see if they are qualified to donate blood plasma, she said.

Sen. Sonny Angara - one of the 3 senators who survived COVID-19, earlier mounted a website where COVID-19 survivors can anonymously donate their blood plasma.

Sen. Imee Marcos has also called for the establishment of blood plasma banks in the country, while a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be formulated.

As of July 13, 56,259 people in the Philippines have contracted COVID-19. Of these patients, 16,046 recovered, 1,534 died, while the rest continue to battle the virus.