Cebu police probing alleged ‘rampant’ sale of COVID-19 survivors’ blood plasma
CEBU CITY – Police officials here are looking into the alleged “rampant” sale of blood plasma from survivors of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro, director of the Central Visayas police, said he instructed all police station commanders in the city to investigate the matter and to arrest those found buying or selling the blood plasma.
“We are investigating it because it is illegal. We will file cases against the culprits and their accomplices,” he said in an interview.
Plasma is the clear, straw-colored liquid portion of blood that carries cells and proteins throughout the body.
Convalescent plasma from COVID-19 survivors has become a “hot” commodity because it is being used as experimental treatment for the dreaded disease which has no known cure at the moment.
The convalescent plasma contains antibodies that can neutralize the virus and may be transfused to severely ill COVID-19 patients to improve their condition.
Ferro said reports of plasma sale reportedly started in Barangay Luz, Cebu City where a number of COVID-19 survivors reside.
Based on reports authorities received, a bag of blood plasma is being sold at P80,000.
Ferro likened the sale of plasma to the trade of human organs for transplantation.
Instead of making money out of it, the police general urged COVID-19 survivors to donate their blood plasma in order to save lives.
He said he already instructed all police personnel in Central Visayas who recovered from COVID-19 to donate their blood plasma.
As of August 5, at least 356 of the 542 policemen who contracted the virus recovered from COVID-19 in the region.
“I’m promoting the donation of plasma so that we will tell people that the gift of life is a gift from God. It is not for sale. We should give back all to His glory,” Ferro said.
“So how come you are selling you blood plasma? You survived COVID-19. You recovered and now you’re selling something out of what you should consider as an extended life,” he added.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7), admonished hospitals not to process convalescent plasma from patients who recovered from the COVID-19.
“If we found out that they are doing this, their license may be revoked,” she said.
Loreche said only the DOH has the authority to process or grant authority in processing plasma from donors who offer these for free.
“We really discourage the sale of plasma and we condemn it. Blood plasma is supposed to be given voluntarily to those who need it and should not be sold. If we allow that and we purchase blood for our patients, what will happen to those who are in need and cannot afford it?,” she said.
“The plasma shall be made available for everyone—rich or poor,” she added.
As of August 5, Cebu City has recorded 9,150 cases of COVID-19 with 535 deaths and 5,992 recoveries, according to the DOH.
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