Palace lauds DOST’s plasma-therapy initiative to treat COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2020 11:56 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

MANILA--The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is set to start a study on convalescent plasma as adjunctive therapy for patients with COVID-19, Malacañang said Saturday.

"The Palace welcomes the announcement of Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña on the start of the government-funded study looking on the use of convalescent blood plasma as one of the modes of therapy for COVID-19," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Convalescent plasma, taken from the blood of recovered patients, contains neutralizing antibodies against the virus.

"We hope this study will yield positive results and be our country's contribution to the global effort to develop COVID-19 treatment," Roque said.

The University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital will lead the project, with support from the DOST.

The agency's Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) earlier said the project also aimed to strengthen the capacities of health care professionals in its clinical use, not only for COVID-19, but also for other emerging infections.

The team started the call for blood donations from COVID-19 survivors in April. The project will run for 12 months.

“For the past months, we have been mobilizing our resources and maximizing our capacities to help combat COVID-19. Through this project, we are hoping to provide supportive treatment to COVID-19 patients to avoid worst-case scenarios,” DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Jaime C. Montoya said in a statement.

“If the project proves to be successful, we can also contribute to developing a treatment that will help reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19,” he added.

To date, the Philippines has tallied 41,830 coronavirus cases, of whom 1,290 have died while 11,453 have recovered.