A ray of hope flickers as the Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital was able to successfully develop a new treatment for severely affected patients of the coronavirus disease last June 22, 2020. A group of physicians working with Dr. Protenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III unveiled the Hybrid Therapeutic Plasma Exchange and Convalescent Plasma Therapy – a procedure first done in the country.
This promising solution was performed to the 68-year old patient, Ana Marie Clavano-Cruz, who had to undergo intubation to facilitate breathing. It was carried out by Dr, Edgar Tan, cardiologist; Dr. Maria Isabel Mahinay, hematologist; Dr. Geraldine Lim, pulmonologist; and Dr. Mitzi Chua, infectious disease specialist.
What does Hybrid Therapeutic Plasma Exchange and Convalescent Plasma Therapy work?
Our blood is composed of 55% plasma and 45% are red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets suspended in the plasma. Hybrid Therapeutic Plasma Exchange and Convalescent Plasma Therapy involves the removal of the bad plasma from the patient and replacement of good plasma from donors or individuals who have successfully recovered from the coronavirus disease.
According to the President of the Cebu Doctors Group of Hospitals, Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, they have been meticulously observing the improvement of the patient after she was treated. Cruz was able to spend a total of 13 days in the hospital before she was allowed to go home.
Hybrid Therapeutic Plasma Exchange and Convalescent Plasma Therapy is a promising solution to critically-ill COVID-19 patients and, at the same time, help in decongesting the number of patients. This also increases the possibility of survival among patients who are in the critical stage and are in the stage.
In the press briefing, Larrazabal said that they are willing to share the procedures to other hospitals on how to go about with Hybrid Therapeutic Plasma Exchange and Convalescent Plasma Therapy especially to hospitals with plasmapheresis machine – which is used in extracting and replacing unhealthy plasma with the healthy ones – so that more patients will be saved from this deadly virus.
Convalescent Plasma Donation Drive
To facilitate this procedure, Larrazabal and government officials from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas are now calling for COVID-19 survivors in Cebu to donate their plasma so as to save more lives. OPAV has already initiated a plasma donation campaign in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-lapu. They have partnered with Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center to be the depository of the donated plasma.
According to Dr. Maria Isabel Mahinay, hematologist, convalescent plasma donors should be:
- COVID-1 positive through RT-PCR results who have recovered for at least 14 days with no signs and symptoms
- 18 to 65 years of age
- weighs more than 50 kilos
- undergo four hours of fasting before antibody testing
- pass all blood bank screening tests, interviews, and antibody titer test.