Angara urges more COVID-19 survivors to donate blood plasma

Senator Sonny Angara urged his fellow COVID-19 survivors to consider donating their blood plasma to help save the lives of Filipinos who are afflicted with the deadly disease.

As more patients are benefiting from convalescent plasma therapy or the infusion of blood plasma from an individual who recovered from COVID-19, Angara called on more survivors to “donate and save lives.”

To help facilitate the process of connecting blood plasma donors with the receiving hospitals and the patients in need of this, the Office of Senator Angara, in cooperation with the Bacolod City-based web developer Talking Myna, has launched the website plasmangpagasa.com.

Through plasmangpagasa.com, the donors can register and select their preferred hospital for the collection of their blood plasma.

To qualify as a donor, an individual must have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks.

They must be eligible to donate blood, have prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other donor criteria. Individuals must have complete resolution of symptoms for at least 28 days before they donate, or alternatively have no symptoms for at least 14 days prior to donation and have a negative lab test for active COVID-19 disease.

Angara assured the donors that the personal information they will provide in registering will be kept private and used only by the collecting hospital for the purpose of matching a patient for blood plasma therapy.

At present, plasmangpagasa.com has partnered with the Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines and the St. Luke’s Medical Center (BGC and QC).

“We are looking to expand the network of collecting hospitals in plasmangpagasa.com, including those outside of Metro Manila so that it will be easier for our potential donors to connect with these institutions wherever they are in the country,” Angara said.

While still considered as an “investigational treatment” for COVID-19, blood plasma therapy has been considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a valid and safe approach in treating infectious diseases such as H1N1, SARS, MERS-CoV and Ebola. Dr. Michael Ryan, who heads the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said that through the transfusion of blood plasma, the patient is given a boost of antibodies to hopefully help them get through the very difficult phase.

Angara, who tested positive for COVID-19 last March 26, was able to successfully recover from the disease and donated his blood plasma on April 13.

Last Thursday, he once again donated blood plasma as his way to give back to medical community who helped him recover from COVID-19.

“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. Donating blood plasma is the least that I could do to hopefully save someone,” Angara said.