Israeli firm treats COVID-19 patient using placenta therapy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 23, 2020   •   358

An Israeli regenerative medicine company that is developing a platform of novel biological therapeutic products has announced that they were able to treat their first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient in New Jersey, USA under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Single Patient Expanded Access Program, also known as a compassionate use program.

In a statement, Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. said the treatment is “part of the U.S. Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), an emergency program for possible therapies that uses every available method to move new treatments to patients as quickly as possible.”

Pluristem said the patient was administered a treatment called Placental expanded (PLX) cell therapy.

The company added that the patient was critically ill with respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) prior to the PLX treatment.

The patient was also under mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit (ICU) for three weeks.

Pluristem CEO and President Yaky Yanay said they are now focusing on the initiation of a multinational clinical study.

“In parallel with our planned clinical trial, we expect to continue treating patients under compassionate use through the appropriate regulatory clearances in the United States and Israel, as well as expanding treatment under compassionate use in other countries,” he said. AAC

Navotas to undergo 14-day lockdown due to surge in COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

Navotas City will be placed under a 14-day lockdown due to the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco confirmed what has been floating on social media regarding the lockdown, although he added that he is still yet to sign the directive.

Based on the report of City Health officials on Sunday (July 12), there are 931 confirmed cases in the city.

Tiangco lamented that despite the rising cases, residents continue to leave their houses irresponsibly. He also said that several children are playing outside without wearing face masks.

Barangay NBBS Dagat-dagatan has the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city.

Barangay Chairperson Zenaida Tibulan said most of the residents thought there is less danger when community quarantine eased.

Lahat halos lumalabas na noong nagkaroon ng GCQ parang pakiramdam nila natapos na ang problema. Sobra lang mahirap talaga para masasabi nating ma-control ang mga tao at mga bata na lumabas (Almost everyone went outside when GCQ was implemented, they thought the problem is over. It is really difficult to control residents and children not to leave their houses),” she said.

Mayor Tiangco said he is still waiting for the augmentation force he requested from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to begin the implementation of the lockdown in the city. –AAC (with reports from Dante Amento).

Phl Red Cross opens convalescent plasma center in Manila to help fight COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Monday said it has opened its convalescent plasma center in the Philippine capital to help in the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The PRC said its convalescent plasma bank was opened at its National Blood Center in Port Area and has started operations Monday.

In a statement, PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the facility aims to help COVID-19 patients after some medical experts attested to the therapy’s effectiveness.

“Pinilit naming magkaroon ng convalescent plasma center para mabigyan ng pag-asa ang mga kababayan natin na may COVID,” he said as he noted that 9 out 10 patients who underwent the therapy have recovered from the disease.

Convalescent plasma therapy involves the extraction of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to be transfused to a patient who is still battling the disease. Blood plasma is expected to contain antibodies which will help recipients fight off the infection.

Gordon said the center is open for COVID-19 survivors who wish to donate blood plasma to the PRC.

COVID-19 survivors between the ages of 18 and 65 would have to undergo physical and medical to see if they are qualified to donate blood plasma.

To date, the Philippines has recorded a total of 57,006 COVID-19 cases. Of these patients, 20,371 have recovered while 1,599 died from the disease.

Olympics must go ahead next year as symbol of overcoming COVID-19, Tokyo governor says

UNTV News   •   July 13, 2020

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, often floated as a future Japanese premier, said on Monday (July 13) the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming the novel coronavirus, even as her city grapples with stubborn spikes in cases.

The 2020 Olympics were scheduled to start this month but were postponed because of the coronavirus. Koike has pledged to win public support for the Games, although a media survey showed a majority think they should be cancelled or postponed again.

“I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind,” Koike told Reuters in an online interview. She declined to specify a deadline for deciding if the Games could go ahead.

Tokyo’s jump in COVID-19 cases comes as Abe’s government prepares to launch a campaign to promote domestic tourism, but that has raised concern about spreading the virus outside the capital. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

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