Coronavirus survivors donate blood to help COVID-19 patients
The Philippine General Hospital urges other coronavirus survivors to donate blood to help critically ill COVID-19 patients

MODERN DAY HEROES. COVID-19 survivors donate blood on Thursday, April 9 for an experimental treatment done by the Philippine General Hospital to help severely ill patients affected by coronavirus. Photos from Dr. Thaddeus Hinunangan

MANILA, Philippines – Three COVID-19 survivors have donated blood for an experimental treatment being carried out by the Philippine General Hospital to help patients with severe coronavirus symptoms.

Seafarer Ian Ceasar Frias and nurses Kai Soriano and Galey Arranz underwent the process of apheresis blood donation, where convalescent plasma was extracted from the donors, at the Paz Mendoza Hall of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in Manila on Thursday, April 9.

The convalescent plasma contains antibodies that can neutralize the virus, and may be transfused to severely ill COVID-19 patients to help improve their condition. 

“The initial 3 donors who bravely revealed their identities by recounting their experiences through social media helped dispel the stigma of having recovered from coronavirus. Hopefully it will encourage more,” said PGH resident Thaddeus Hinunangan.

In a Facebook post, Hinunangan commended the survivors as modern-day heroes and encouraged other COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma or whole blood for the cause.

On April 1, PGH – one of the country’s referral hospitals for COVID-19 – appealed to survivors who have fully recovered to donate blood to help coronavirus patients.

Criteria for donor-survivors are as follows:

  •  Positive swab test of COVID-19 (RTPCR)
  •  Subsequent swab(s) yielding a negative result
  •  Must be asymptomatic for 2 weeks.
  • One positive swab, but if no additional swab is taken, he/she should be at least 28 days asymptomatic

Doctors screen the donor for blood donation, visit the potential donor for the informed consent, extract blood for initial serology and blood typing, then schedule the donation procedure.

Transportation, snacks, and tokens of appreciation are also provided.

Interested donors may contact 09178053207 or look for Dr. Sandy Maganito. 

Scientists have pointed to convalescent plasma therapy for severe COVID-19 cases but large-scale clinical trials would still have to be done to to prove its effectiveness. In Seoul, two elderly South Korean coronavirus patients recovered from severe pneumonia after being treated with plasma from survivors.

As of Thursday, April 9, the Philippines has 4,076 coronavirus cases, with 203 deaths and 124 recoveries. –