Over 40 Filipinos have undergone the clinical trial on the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma transfusion as adjunctive therapy to prevent disease progression among hospitalized coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has reported.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the recruitment of the participants “is ongoing.”
“Forty-two out of the targeted 136 participants have been recruited for the study and have undergone the clinical trial,” he said in a report to President Duterte.
He said of the 42 participants enrolled in the trial, 38 have already been discharged from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). “Of these, four are on continuous follow-up and 34 are done with the trial,” the DOST chief said.
De la Peña noted that the project, led by Dr. Deonne Thaddeus Gauiran of University of the Philippines (UP)-PGH, is implemented for 12 months from July 1,2020 to June 30, 2021.
“The study aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma as adjunctive therapy in preventing disease progression among hospitalized patients with COVID-19,” he said.
The study employed a randomized, non-placebo controlled, open-label, single-centre clinical trial, he said.
The project is funded by DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).
DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Jaime C. Montoya had expressed hope that through the project, COVID-19 patients would be given supportive treatment to avoid worst-case scenarios.
“If the project proves to be successful, we can also contribute to developing a treatment that will help reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19,” he said.
Convalescent plasma is taken from the blood of patients who recovered from infection and contains neutralizing antibodies against it, the DOST-PCHRD said.
“Aside from potentially developing locally-produced convalescent plasma which may be used as part of the COVID-19 treatment regime, the project also aims to strengthen the capacities of healthcare professionals in its clinical use, not only for COVID-19, but also for other emerging infections in the future,” it said.