PRC opens plasma center

SENATOR Richard Gordon on Monday said the Philippine Red Cross has armed itself with another weapon to fight the Coronavirus-2019 or COVID-19 with the opening of its convalescent plasma center at its National Blood Center in Port Area, Manila.

Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO, said they endeavoured to open the facility to help COVID-19 patients because medical experts from the Philippine General Hospital attested that the convalescent plasma therapy has proven to be an effective treatment, with 90% of patients, who have undergone the said treatment, recovering from the disease.

“Pinilit naming magkaroon ng convalescent plasma center para mabigyan ng pag-asa ang mga kababayan natin na may COVID. “Yung mga nagkaroon na ng COVID at gumaling ay maaaring magbigay ng dugo para maisalin sa ibang nakikipaglaban pa sa COVID. Ayon sa mga doctor sa PGH, nine out of 10 ang nakakarecover dahil sa convalescent plasma. Nagkaroon bigla ng pag-asa ang mga may COVID. Ito ay isa sa mga armas natin laban sa COVID” he said.

Under the convalescent plasma therapy, plasma from COVID patients who already recovered from the disease will be transfused to a patient who is still battling with COVID. Convalescent plasma contains neutralizing antibodies which will help recipients fight off the infection.

“’Yung interesadong magbigay ng dugo pag galing na sila sa COVID, pwede po kayong tumawag sa aming hotline 09175820499 o sa 143, mas mabilis po nang sa gayon ay makakatulong na tayo kaagad. Napakahalaga nito. Mabibigyan ng dugo ang mga nangangailangan at mabibigyan ng pag-asa. Isa ito sa mga armas natin laban sa COVID. Pag nabigyan ka niyan, may panlaban ka. Magbigay na kayo ng dugo. Kung kayo pinatawad na ng Panginoon at binigyan ng panibagong buhay, lalo kayong magiging dakila kung magbibigay kayo ng dugo dito sa convalescent plasma center dito sa Red Cross,” the PRC chairman called on blood donors.

To donate plasma, recovered patients, between the ages 18 to 65, would have to undergo physical and medical examinations; fill up the blood donation questionnaire; and meet the criteria to qualify as donor. Their blood samples would have to undergo additional testing to ensure that their COVID antibody levels would be therapeutic for recipient patients.

To ensure an initial supply of convalescent plasma, blood was collected from PRC’s frontliners who had COVID this week. Their blood samples are now undergoing testing and processing.