PGH Eyes Using Antibodies in Blood of Survivors to Treat COVID-19 Patients

The University of the Philippines (UP) – Philippine General Hospital (PGH) is considering treating severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients by using the antibodies found in the blood of survivors.

(China to Send Medical Expert Team to Help Philippines Combat COVID-19)

Dr. Jonas Del Rosario, PGH spokesperson, told ABS-CBN News that the hospital’s hematology and pathology divisions are currently looking into convalescent plasma therapy.

“What we want to do is to transfuse convalescent plasma of patients who have recovered from COVID-19,” Del Rosario explained.

“Now we thought about this because, in the past, convalescent plasma taken from a person who has recovered from an infection and contains neutralizing antibodies were found to be helpful in other pandemics,” he continued. “That included the H1N1 influenza virus pandemic, the 2003 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic, and the 2012 MERS-COV epidemic. They used this concept and results were promising with no significant adverse effects.”

This procedure was previously used by China to treat some of their own patients while the World Health Organization has deemed the approach “very valid.”

The transfusion therapy would need blood or plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors. Only patients who have been fully recovered for at least 2 weeks will be accepted as donors.

“These potential donors have to go and pass the standard for blood donation,” he added. “They have to be healthy and they shouldn’t be sick of anything.”

While the treatment has yet to be approved by the World Health Organization or the Food and Drug Administration., Del Rosario assures that the only known risks are common blood transfusion reactions and infection. Del Rosario adds that the plasma treatment would simply supplement existing medical care already being given to patients.

COVID-19 survivors may contact 09178053207 for plasma donations while regular blood donors can contact the PGH Blood Bank at 8554-8400 local 3017, 0905 720 1890 or 0947 488 2817.

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