MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) on Tuesday announced its support to the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital's (UP-PGH) study on convalescent plasma transfusion as a possible therapy to hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.

The project, "Convalescent Plasma as Adjunctive Therapy for Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19", seeks to evaluate the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma transfusion as adjunctive therapy to prevent disease progression among hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

Convalescent plasma is taken from the blood of patients who recovered from Covid-19. Other countries like South Korea are also studying convalescent plasma therapy's efficacy against Covid-19.

The project, which will run for a year, also aims to strengthen the capacities of healthcare professionals in its clinical use, not only for Covid-19 but also for other emerging infections in the future, said PCHRD executive director Jaime Montoya.

He added that if this project would be successful, the DOST could also contribute to developing a therapy that would help reduce the Covid-19 mortality rate.

The researchers have been seeking blood donations since April, according to the DOST.

Meanwhile, it may be recalled that the DOST is also supporting the hospital-based and community-based clinical studies on the effectiveness of virgin coconut oil (VCO) in the recovery of Covid-19 patients.

PCHRD has also approved a PHP9.8-million project for clinical trials on the use of high dose melatonin as a supplementary treatment for Covid-19 patients with pneumonia and high-risk features.

Earlier, Montoya told the PNA that the DOST is open to supporting and funding other clinical trials on a possible cure or treatment for Covid-19, provided that these are proven to have significant potential for success. (PNA)