THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 has already released a total of 74 units of convalescent plasma not only to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients in Central Visayas but also to patients in Manila, Bacolod City and the Caraga Administrative Region.
Convalescent plasma collection and preparation in the subnational blood center of DOH 7 started on July 8, 2020.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, said convalescent plasma can help boost the immune system of a Covid-19 patient who is critically ill or severely impaired, but there is no proof yet it can cure the disease.
“We are not yet finished with our followup on the status of the patients given convalescent plasma. It depends on the requesting physician on how many units and this is computed based on the patient’s body weight,” she said.
The process involves the transfusion of a recovered Covid-19 patient’s blood plasma to a sick Covid-19 patient using an apheresis machine.
Loreche said they have collected 510 units of convalescent plasma. However, only 340 units could be used.
Among their regular donors are members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines who recovered from the disease, she said.
Loreche said they test the blood for infectious diseases like hepatitis B and C, malaria, syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus and Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
She said once the blood is cleared of these diseases, they check for the IgG titer, which measures the presence and amount of antibodies in blood. High levels of IgG may mean a long-term infection.
IgG stands for Immunoglobulin G, the most common type of antibodies. DOH said IgG antibodies remain in the blood after an infection has passed. These indicate that an individual may have had Covid-19 in the recent past and has developed anti-bodies to protect from future infections.
Once the blood passes all the tests, the convalescent plasma is ready for use.
Loreche said most of the patients who are given convalescent plasma are moderate to critically ill.
On Monday, Oct. 5, the DOH 7 logged 22 new cases and no Covid-19 death.
Central Visayas has 1,238 active cases of which 350 are found in Cebu City, 143 in Lapu-Lapu City, 104 in Mandaue City, 111 in Bohol, 465 in Cebu Province, 64 in Negros Oriental and one in Siquijor.
The total death toll in the region is 1,291: 675 in Cebu City, 101 in Lapu-Lapu City, 143 in Mandaue City, 360 in Cebu Province, eight in Bohol and four in Negros Oriental.
The DOH 7 also reported 94 new recoveries of which 56 are from Cebu Province, 24 from Cebu City and 14 from Mandaue City. (WBS)