HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque III requested DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas to touch base with the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) to collaborate with a doctor responsible for the innovation of a hybrid treatment therapy for coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The health secretary was in Cebu Tuesday, June 23, 2020, together with other secretaries who are members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Duque said VSMMC may have their own clinical trial for such kind of intervention to Covid-19 patients admitted in the hospital.
“I think we can come together in trying to achieve breakthroughs in the clinical management of Covid-19 infections and save lives and prevent people from deteriorating and therefore avoiding death,” Duque said.
On Monday, the leadership of Cebu Doctors University Hospital (CDUH) presented the first convalescent plasmapheresis exchange, a medical intervention for critically ill Covid-19 patients.
Dr. Edgar Tan, a cardiologist from CDUH presented the innovation of the convalescent plasmapheresis exchange to the members of the national IATF-EID in a meeting Tuesday.
Duque said is the first time he heard about the plasma exchange therapy as a trial of intervention of four critically affected Covid-19 patients.
He said as of now it is premature to give any conclusions or judgment as to the efficacy of both the plasma exchange therapy and convalescent plasma therapy.
He said there are three hospitals that are already engaged in a clinical trial using the plasma convalescent therapy and there have been preliminary reports of positive outcome.
“It is premature, we do not have enough data to give us a level of comfort to say that it does provide positive outcome,” Duque said.
The convalescent plasmapheresis exchange involves the transfusion of plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients to sick Covid patients and the removal of plasma from either a donor or a patient by use of an apheresis machine.
Plasma, according to redcrossblood.org, is the liquid portion of blood. About 55 percent of blood is plasma and the remaining 45 percent are red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets that are suspended in the plasma.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) said Covid-19 convalescent plasma can be made available on an experimental basis through local production provided that ethical and safety criteria are met for its preparation and use. (MVG)