By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
As governments and laboratories around the world race to come up with an internationally approved COVID-19 vaccine and or cure, Uganda, through the Ministry of Health and its partners is also actively involved in the struggle.
The Ministry of Health on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, launched the randomized clinical trial for use of convalescent plasma in treatment of COVID-19 patients in Uganda. This trial will determine the efficacy of convalescent plasma in treating COVID-19.
In May this year, the Ministry of Health appealed to recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their blood for the extraction of convalescent plasma, which would be used to research and determine whether it can be used to treat COVID-19.
The head of the Makerere University Lung Institute Dr Bruce Kirenga said that 186 recovered COVID-19 patients willingly consented to participate in the blood donation but only 162 qualified.
The donors came from all parts of Uganda except Karamoja region, where there was no COVID-19 infection at the time.
The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, said that the collected plasma units can be used to treat 65 patients, and appealed for more donations from the recovered patients.
“Today is an exciting day for me and everyone involved in the COVID-19 response as we launched the clinical trial involving the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 in Uganda.
A total of 162 COVID-19 convalescent plasma units have been collected. This can be used to treat 65 patients. I appeal to the patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to continue giving plasma as the teams will continue to need it,” Dr Aceng said, as she appreciated all those that donated their plasma to this cause.
To date, Uganda’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have surpassed the 5000 mark, but 2,333 of them have recovered, while 58 have succumbed to the Virus.