Duterte to lift lockdown once COVID-19 antibody cure is available

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 14) — President Rodrigo Duterte said he will lift the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon once a cure against the new coronavirus becomes available in the market.

“Kung meron na ‘yan, tapos makita kong ginagamit na ng tao, ili-lift ko. Tutal kung magkasakit kayo, may antibodies naman tayo mabili,” he said in a late-night briefing Monday.

[Translation: If a treatment is already being used, I will lift the quarantine since we can buy an antibody treatment if we get sick.]

The President said a giant pharmaceutical company is developing a cure for the coronavirus disease using antibodies, adding the firm is expected to roll out the medicine soon.

"Meron nang medisina, antibody ang isang giant pharmaceutical. Tapos naghahabulan sila. Sabi by May baka they would start to market it, ipagbili na nila.” he said.

[Translation: There is a medicine already, an antibody of a giant pharmaceutical. They say by May, they would start to sell it.]

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles is clueless as to which company Duterte was referring to because, he said, the topic was not brought up during the Monday meeting with top officials dealing with the health crisis. He added the development of a COVID-19 medicine must have been mentioned to the President.

In Philippine hospitals, patients who have recovered from the coronavirus disease are donating their blood, which is rich in antibodies that could help severely-ill COVID-19 patients fight the infection.

Several Filipino COVID-19 survivors, including Senator Sonny Angara, have donated their blood blood for a plasma therapy, which could potentially increase the chances of recovery and immunity of other patients from the disease.

Convalescent plasma is the process that takes the antibodies from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 and injects them into a person who is sick.

The World Health Organization has also backed the use of antibodies to treat a COVID-19 patient.

"During the course of the illness, it will be beneficial because what hyperimmune globulin does is it concentrates the antibodies in a recovered patient and you're essentially giving the new victim's immune system a boost," Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Program, said in February.

Duterte approved the extension of the enhanced community quarantine ‪from April 14 to April 30‬ to further flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection in the country.

The Health Department reported 284 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total number of those who have been infected to 4,932. There are now 315 people who have died due to the respiratory disease, while 242 others have recovered.