Newly developed treatment for COVID-19 unveiled in Cebu
CEBU CITY – A group of physicians in Cebu developed a new treatment for patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
Doctors from Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital (CDUH) unveiled on Monday, June 22, 2020, a Hybrid Therapeutic Plasma Exchange and Convalescent Plasma Therapy – a first in the country.
In a press briefing, CDUH physicians announced that it could be a promising solution for patients suffering severe COVID-19 symptoms.
“This was the first time this type of treatment was done in the country,” said Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, president of the Cebu Doctors Group of Hospitals.
The novel treatment was performed on 68-year-old Ana Marie Clavano-Cruz who, according to Larrazabal, had to undergo intubation to facilitate her breathing.
The group of doctors who carried out the treatment were Dr. Edgar Tan, cardiologist; Dr. Maria Isabel Mahinay, hematologist; Dr. Geraldine Lim, pulmonologist; and Dr. Mitzi Chua, infectious disease specialist.
It involved removing the bad plasma from the patient and then had it replaced it with good plasma from donors -or individuals who have successfully recovered from COVID-19.
Larrazabal said they observed improvement in Cruz’s conditions a few days after she was treated. The patient spent a total of 13 days in the hospital before she was discharged.
He added that COVID-19 patients with severe to critical symptoms are usually confined in the hospitals within three weeks to one month before recovering.
“We are happy that the result is promising. Depending on the case, we hope to be able to use this to our more severe cases to save more lives,” said Larrazabal in a post on Facebook.
But doctors disclosed to the public that such treatment is not considered as a “miracle cure” for COVID-19.
Larrazabal said they are willing to share the Hybrid Therapeutic Plasma Exchange and Convalescent Plasma Therapy to other hospitals which have plasmapheresis machine.
Plasmapheresis machines are used to extract unhealthy plasma and replace it with healthy plasma, a component in the blood that contained water, salts, enzymes, antibodies, and other proteins.
“Amid this pandemic, what is needed is teamwork. Our goal really is to help people and save the lives of more patients,” Larrazabal said.
Meanwhile, Larrazabal and government officials from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) are now calling for COVID-19 survivors in Cebu to donate their plasma.
“Please do not hesitate to reach us and we will extend all necessary assistance to you… You are indeed survivors who became saviors” said Larrazabal.
The CDUH top official also thanked OPAV for encouraging donors to share their plasma to save those who were afflicted with COVID-19.
OPAV, in a separate press statement, announced that they have initiated a plasma donation campaign in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu.
They also said the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) has agreed to be the depository of donated plasma. /bmjo
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