The first phase of the study, “The feasibility of collecting, processing and storing COVID-19 convalescent plasma for treatment of COVID-19 in Uganda” was kicked off yesterday.
The aim of the feasibility is to collect and process COVID-19 convalescent plasma for treatment of COVID-19.
Convalescent plasma is plasma from individuals who have recovered from an infection, and this plasma may contain antibodies against that infection.
Since the outbreak of the COVID19 epidemic in March, UPDF has had a 360 degree approach towards it.
It has been involved in all the stages of this epidemic control from prevention, care and treatment, case management, surveillance, and now UPDF is involved in research.
It should be noted that the Ministry of Health requested the UPDF leadership to support the ministry against the outbreak of COVID- 19 from onset.
On the 25th of Mar 2020, 86 medics from UPDF were dispatched to different hospitals to boost the effort. These 86 medics from UPDF would later turn into critical staff at different hospitals fighting the pandemic.
The study was conducted by the COVIDRES-Uganda Research group; a multi-disciplinary research group coordinated by the Makerere University Lung Institute (MLI).
The research group/ collaborators on this study included members from MLI, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces Medical Services, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Uganda Cancer Institute among others.
Giving her remarks, Hon .Dr. Jane Aceng Ocero, Minister of Health who was also the chief Guest at the event said Covid-19 has no treatment. “What is given currently is only support. So having convalescent plasma come on board is great and we are looking forward to it being started tomorrow”.
According to Hon. Aceng, Uganda is losing 2-3 covid-19 patients per day and the numbers are climbing up every day thus the need for more innovations.
She cautioned Ugandans who thought and who still think that COVID-19 is a joke that COVID-19 is real. “It is with us and it can take anyone of us as it has already taken very prominent people from our society. Do not to become part of the statistics but part of those that are supporting the response to ensure that Ugandans remain alive” Hon. Aceng added.
She thanked the Government of Uganda for Funding the Study, Makerere University for supporting responses to COVID-19 always through advice, research and hands on, the collaborators on the study but more so the plasma donors who are recovered COVID19 patients who came in willingly having heard of the study.
Maj Gen Ambrose Musinguzi, the UPDF Director Medical services, who represented UPDF at the event, said that UPDF medical services will always be to support all the efforts. “It is our concern as UPDF that in circumstances like this, when the country is facing a pandemic, UPDF must be there for Ugandans as it has always been”.
The event which was held at Makerere University Main Hall was chaired by Prof Dr. William Bazeyo, Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor.
Present also were Col Dr John Lusiba,Makerere University principles and staff of Principal college of Health sciences.