Philippines Treating COVID-19 Patients With Survivor's Antibodies

"A spokesperson for a Philippine hospital has said that they will be attempting to treat severely ill coronavirus patients with the antibodies of those who have survived mild cases of the disease."

Philippines Treating Coronavirus Patients With Survivor's Antibodies

Jonas del Rosario, the spokesperson for the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, said that the use of antibodies as treatment is still in its “experimental stage”.

The hospital is asking those who have survived COVID-19 to donate their blood for the research. He defined survivors as those who were once infected with the disease, recovered, and then tested negative.

Del Rosario said that because they have survived the disease, the survivor's blood has antibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body and used by the immune system to neutralize pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.

Though they are calling on survivors to donate their blood, del Rosario clarified that two weeks should have already passed since their recovery for the survivors to qualify as donors.

According to the Manila Bulletin, potential donors only have to call the hospital to inquire about donating their blood for the research. French news network France 24 reported that COVID-19 survivors in the US are now being screened for antibodies that could be used in search of a treatment for the infection.

The antibodies can be found in convalescent plasma, the fluid that can be found in one’s blood. Past studies have shown that convalescent plasma can be used to treat infectious diseases such as SARS and Ebola.

The US Food and Drug Administration has reportedly allowed doctors to conduct research on the use of antibodies as a treatment for coronavirus patients. The New York Blood Center is currently collecting, testing, and distributing survivors’ blood donations in New York City.

According to New York Blood Center Chief Medical Officer Bruce Sachias, plasma transfusions hold promise as a potential treatment, but it’s still too early to say if it will work. Researchers hope that studies on coronavirus antibodies will reveal when peak antibody production occurs. Irving Medical Center transfusion medicine doctor Eldad Hod says that every donation from COVID-19 survivors “can potentially save three to four lives”.

The antibody treatments will be given to COVID-19 patients in hospitals and people who have not contracted the virus but are vulnerable to infection, such as those in nursing homes.

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