Senator Imelda “Imee” Marcos has proposed the establishment of plasma banks in all private and public hospitals in the country while the Philippines is waiting for a vaccine for COVID-19.
In filing Senate Bill No. 1648, the proposed Plasma Donation and Collection Act, the senator said it is imperative that the government is prepared to counter the pandemic and its possible mutations while a COVID-19 vaccine remains unavailable.
So far, Marcos said medical research have shown that the yellowish liquid part of the blood known as plasma, which was taken from patients who recovered from previous pandemics like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), reduced the number of deaths among new patients who were transfused with it.
“There is hope in the use of plasma as possible treatment for COVID-19, with clinical trials now being conducted by the Philippine General Hospital (PGH),” Marcos said.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) also sanctioned the use of plasma in other pandemics like the Ebola outbreak in Africa,” she added.
“We must prepare for the long haul. Not even medical experts can tell the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, how much further cases of infection in the country will increase, and when a vaccine will be found,” she said.
Under the bill, the Department of Health (DOH) will be tasked to start the process of collecting plasma from donors and establishing facilities for this purpose in hospitals all over the country within one year after its enactment.
The DOH, under the measure, will also be mandated to create guidelines on donor eligibility and a chain of custody to keep collected plasma safe from transmissible diseases.
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, a COVID-19 survivor, urged fellow survivors to consider donating their blood plasma to help save the lives of Filipinos who are afflicted with the deadly disease.
Angara, who tested positive for COVID-19 last March 26, was able to successfully recover from the disease and has donated his blood plasma twice—in April and last Thursday, June 2.
“There are a lot of inspiring cases of people who were critically ill but were able to recover after undergoing convalescent plasma therapy, alongside other treatments,” Angara said.
“Donating blood plasma is the least that I could do to hopefully save someone,” added Angara.
Angara said those interested to donate plasma can course their donation thru plasmangpagasa.com—launched by the Bacolod City-based web developer Talking Myna in cooperation with the Office of Sen. Angara.
Through plasmangpagasa.com, the donors can register and select their preferred hospital for the collection of their blood plasma.