MANILA—Government officials from Central Visayas warned the public against selling or buying blood or plasma used for the experimental treatment of COVID-19 patients.
“Meron tayong reports na there are middlemen doing the searching of this plasma. And they are charging P12,000 to P20,000 per donor,” said Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas at the Department of Health televised briefing on Friday.
(We have received reports of middlemen searching for plasma. And they are charging P12,000 to P20,000 per donor.)
Gonzales said they are now hoping that the government’s upcoming blood donation drive will help address the problem.
Convalescent plasma therapy involves the transfusion of plasma, or the yellow-liquid portion of the blood that contains antibodies, from a COVID-19 survivor to someone who is still battling the disease.
The treatment is undergoing clinical trials at the Philippine General Hospital and other hospitals in the country. While the studies are still inconclusive, plasma transfusion has been used before to address previous epidemics.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist and spokesperson of DOH Region 7, said the blood center at the DOH compound is the only licensed and authorized convalescent plasma facility in the region.
“Blood is essential and vital pero hindi po ito dapat binebenta (but this should not be sold). We should only accept voluntary blood donation,” she said.
Loreche added that everyone should be given a chance to use plasma although it is not yet officially approved as a COVID-19 treatment.
She said their office is already networking with other groups for blood donations.
Authorities have always warned against the selling of blood and organs to ensure the safety of the supply.