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‘We must prepare for the long haul:’ Marcos seeks creation of plasma bank centers

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

While waiting for an effective vaccine against the dreaded coronavirus disease, administration Sen. Imee Marcos has proposed the creation of plasma banks in all public and private hospitals in the country.

Marcos said that since medical research has shown that the yellowish liquid part of the blood known as plasma—taken from patients who recovered from coronavirus infections—it has reduced the number of deaths among new patients who were transfused with it.

“There is hope in the use of plasma as a possible treatment for Covid-19, with clinical trials now being conducted by the PGH (Philippine General Hospital). The World Health Organization also sanctioned the use of plasma in other pandemics like the Ebola outbreak in Africa,” said Marcos.

Marcos recently has filed Senate Bill 1648, or the Plasma Donation and Collection Act, to start the process of collecting plasma from donors and establishing facilities for this purpose in hospitals nationwide, within one year after the law takes effect.

“We must prepare for the long haul. Not even medical experts can tell the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, how much further cases of infection in the country will increase, and when a vaccine will be found,” said Marcos.

SB 1648 tasks the Department of Health to create guidelines on donor eligibility and a chain of custody to keep collected plasma safe from transmissible diseases.

Meanwhile, Marcos stressed that the supposed racket of buying and selling plasma reported in the Central Visayas would be dismantled if an organized and broader system of plasma donation, collection, and safekeeping was established by the government.

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