The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) disclosed on Friday, July 23, the completion of the country’s 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.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the study, which is funded by DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) was completed on June 30 as scheduled.
“The study was completed on June 30, 2021,” he announced on the DOSTv Facebook page on Friday.
The project, led by Dr. Deonne Thaddeus Gauiran of University of the Philippines (UP)-PGH, was implemented for 12 months from July 1,2020 to June 30.
“The proponent concluded that among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, no significant differences were observed in the need for ICU admission between patients given convalescent plasma therapy as adjunct to standard of care and those who received standard of care alone,” de la Peña noted.
He said the DOST-PCHRD funded project sought to evaluate the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma transfusion as adjunctive therapy to prevent disease progression among hospitalized COVID-19.
“The convalescent plasma is taken from the blood of patients who recovered from infection and contains neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19 virus,” the DOST chief said, citing that the study employed a randomized, non-placebo controlled, open-label, single-centre clinical trial.
De la Peña said in May that 42 out of the targeted 136 participants have been recruited for the study and have undergone the clinical trial.
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.
He said aside from potentially developing locally produced convalescent plasma which may be used as part of the COVID-19 treatment regime, the project also sought 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.”