Palace sees positive results from plasma study

July 05, 2020

PH plasma study hoped to boost global search for cure.

MALACANANG on Saturday expressed optimism about the study on the convalescent plasma transfusion as treatment for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) would yield “positive results.”

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

Roque issued the statement on Saturday night, as he noted that the Palace welcomes the start of the government-funded study on the use of convalescent blood plasma as one of the modes of therapy for Covid-19.

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña announced that the clinical study of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) on convalescent plasma transfusion as possible adjunctive therapy to prevent COVID-19 progression already started on Wednesday.

Adjunctive therapy is a treatment used to support the main or primary treatment of diseases.

As definite therapy for COVID-19 is still lacking, the clinical study aims to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of convalescent plasma transfusion as adjunctive therapy for the novel coronavirus.

Convalescent plasma is taken from COVID-19 patients’ blood who recovered from the highly-infectious disease and contains neutralizing antibodies against the new coronavirus.

Roque said the UP-PGH’s ongoing study would be funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“The use of convalescent plasma as adjunctive therapy for patients hospitalized for COVID-19 is being undertaken by the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, with funding support from the DOST,” he said.

As of Saturday, the Philippines has reported 41,830 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 11,453 recoveries and 1,290 deaths.

Michael Ryan, executive director of World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, earlier said the use of convalescent plasma is a valid approach in treating infectious diseases.

Ryan said this was done in previous outbreaks such as the H1N1 influenza virus pandemic, 2003 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic, and the 2012 MERS-CoV epidemic.

The Philippines started the call for blood donations from Covid-19 survivors in April.

The study on the convalescent plasma transfusion will run for 12 months, DOST earlier said. PNA