Guidelines on the use of convalescent plasma therapy at SPMC still being drafted

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 May) – The guidelines for the use of convalescent plasma therapy at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) here to treat serious cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is currently being drafted.

Dr. Ricardo Audan, chief of clinics and health emergency at SPMC, said during a live presser streamed over the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Davao Region’s Facebook page on Tuesday that the government hospital has not started with the therapy yet as they are still in the process of preparing the “guidelines and the flow of this convalescent plasma.”

“The guidelines on the use of convalescent plasma are on process. They are working with our pathology and laboratories. I think with convalescent plasma, this can be given to people with severe COVID-19 cases to boost their ability to fight the virus,” he added.

In a data released by the Davao City Information Office, the COVID-19 cases in Davao City reached 206 as of 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Of this total, 100 recovered and 25 died.

In a press release posted on the Department of Health website dated April 16, 2020, Dr. Deonne Gauiran, a hematologist at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), said the PGH is currently employing the convalescent plasma therapy under the guidance and in accordance with the strict protocols issued by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

He explained that the convalescent plasma therapy, a kind of treatment that needs the plasma, a liquid component collected from the blood of a patient who recovered from the infection, would be administered on COVID-19-positive patients.

Dr. Gauiran emphasized that although the therapy was already proven safe and effective against SARS, MERS-CoV, H1N1 and Ebola, there is no evidence yet to show that it is effective against SARS-Cov2.

According to the US Food and Drugs Administration, convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from the COVID-19, which is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.

“COVID-19 patients develop antibodies in the blood against the virus. Antibodies are proteins that might help fight the infection. Convalescent plasma is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for this disease and there is some information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19,” it said.

It added that further investigation is still necessary to determine if convalescent plasma is safe and effective “as a treatment for COVID-19, and whether it might shorten the duration of illness, reduce morbidity, or prevent death associated with COVID-19.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)