Ex-senator Alvarez undergoes experimental COVID-19 plasma treatment: children

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2020 06:37 PM

Former senator Heherson Alvarez during the necrological services for the late former Senate President Nene Pimentel at the Philippine Senate in Pasay City on October 23, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Former Philippine Senator Heherson Alvarez has undergone an experimental plasma treatment for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), his children said Wednesday.

The 80-year-old human rights advocate and environmentalist received "plasma infusion yesterday," Hex Alvarez and Xilca Alvarez-Protacio said.

"It’s too early to tell, but so far so good, keeping our fingers crossed," Alvarez-Protacio said.

Alvarez-Protacio thanked the Philippine General Hospital "for taking the lead on this convalescent plasma therapy," which transfuses plasma of recovered patients to a person still suffering from the disease. The antibodies in the donor's plasma is expected to neutralize the virus in the recipient's body.

On Monday, Hex said his father was a candidate for the treatment as he sought prayers for all COVID-19 patients, and even for "frontliners bravely putting their lives at risk."

Their mother, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, 76, a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for infusing culture in the performing arts, was also afflicted with the disease but her condition has improved since last week.

In a social media post early last week, Hex quoted her sister to have said their mother was already extubated and was breathing comfortably.

"In spite of her diabetes, hypertension and cancer, this Cecile Guidote Alvarez is really something else, per her doctor. Please continue praying for her full recovery," Alvarez-Protacio said then.

Around that time, their father was also moved to the intensive care unit "where he can be closely monitored." While his x-ray results showed "some slight improvement," his condition was still critical.

Alvarez-Protacio thanked COVID-19 survivors who donated their plasma, and informed others who are willing to do the same to get in touch with Dr. Sandy Maganito of the PGH through mobile number 09178053207.

According to Dr. Jonas del Rosario, spokesperson of the PGH, 12 donors have so far undergone plasmapheresis in the facility, and transfusion has been made to 3 recipients, as of Wednesday.

St. Luke's Hospital is also looking for plasma donors for a similar program.

- with report from Jeffrey Hernaez, ABS-CBN News