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Filipino priest calls for blood plasma for Covid patients

Manila Cathedral vice-rector says more antibodies are needed if more people are to survive the pandemic

Filipino priest calls for blood plasma for Covid patients

Father Kali Llamado, vice-rector of Manila Cathedral, celebrates Mass. (Photo: Archdiocese of Manila)

A Philippine priest is encouraging more Covid survivors like himself to donate their plasma to help patients with more severe symptoms recover from the deadly disease.

Father Kali Llamado, vice-rector of Manila Cathedral, says he has donated his convalescent plasma twice after recovering from coronavirus. More is needed to address what appears to be a constant shortage, he said.  

People with Covid-19 develop antibodies to fight off severe respiratory ailments caused by the virus.

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Plasma is collected from donors who have recovered from the virus to battle the illness in other patients.

More donors mean more people have a greater chance of surviving, Father Llamado said.  

“Today is my second time to donate convalescent plasma. Thankfully, four months after my recovery, my antibody levels are still high enough to make a donation,” the priest said on March 2 in a social media post.

Father Llamado said everything has a purpose including his recovery from the virus.

“I believe God heals us for a purpose. I think this is God’s gift to us. He healed us so we can in turn heal others,” he added.

“Although there is a lot that is unknown, convalescent plasma, based on records, best works on patients during the earlier part of the disease. Right now, we are using convalescent plasma to treat a small number of patients facing a severe or life-threatening situation due to Covid,” Filipino physician Mark Andrado told UCA News.

Another doctor, who himself recovered from the virus, said donation gives people the opportunity to give life — the greatest gift of all.

“A little inconvenience on our part can go a long way. For me it [plasma donation] is both a responsibility and an act of kindness,” Donn Bernabe said.

Father Llamado said those who have recovered like him must be thankful for the gift of healing and must return the gift to the needy.

“To my fellow Covid-19 survivors, please consider donating your blood plasma. This will give a chance for another man to live.”

More than 580,000 people have contracted Covid-19 since the outbreak began in the Philippines last year. At least 12,360 of those people have died, according to government figures.

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