MINSA: Press Release #56

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Monday April 20, 2020
Panama Makes Scientific Advances in the Combat of COVID-19

The National Bioethics Committee approved the protocol for research to determine the use of convalescent plasma as an alternative treatment in patients with pulmonary complications from COVID-19. 

This initiative has the endorsement of the Panamanian Society of Hematology and Intensive Care Physicians. International organizations such as the US FDA are currently testing the use of this therapeutic alternative to reduce the severity and duration of COVID-19. 

Once the investigation is completed, the Ministry of Health (MINSA) urges the population to continue giving to blood donation programs, since convalescent plasma may help patients in the inflammatory and severe phases. 

With this study, Panama seeks to offer alternative medical treatment to the population with complicated COVID-19 symptoms. Health professionals from the Santo Tomás Hospital, the phase Complex (CSS) and the Pacífica Salud Hospital will participate.  

Gorgas Commemorative Institute

To reinforce the process of obtaining test results, Gorgas Memorial Institute will receive 10,000 kits for RNA testing tomorrow. With these tests, the RNA can be extracted, which will amplify the response capacity for COVID-19. 

RNA is ribonucleic acid, a component that functions as a messenger of genetic information and also participates in the protein synthesis of the human body. 

Scientific advances at the Social Security Hospital (CSS)

The Blood Bank of the CSS Complex has been approved as a research center for a study called "Convalescent Plasma," which seeks to extract plasma from patients with high immunity to SARS-COVID and inject that plasma into hospitalized patients with the new coronavirus to limit complications associated with the disease, announced the director of the entity, Enrique Lau Cortés. 

He added that approval for the Blood Bank was achieved after a study by John Hopkins University and explained that this therapy for patients with COVID-19 was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. 

Lau Cortés said that the CSS had 301 patients hospitalized of which 113 were admitted to the Intensive Care Units. Of these, 21 have gone to the wards and 46 have left the wards. 

He added that out of 290,000 retirees, 106,000 will continue to collect their pensions by check this fortnight from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. On Tuesday the 21st and Thursday the 24th, men will be served; and on Wednesday and Friday, women. During these days the influenza vaccine will be applied at the collection points. 

Males continue to violate the quarantine

The Minister of Health said that the safeguards will be extended until April 23, the date on which another decree will be issued. 

Security Minister Juan Pino said that in the last 24 hours, 432 people (360 men, 35 women and 37 minors) were detained. The insistence of men in breaching the quarantine is evident. 

Panama Solidarity

MIDES Minister Markova Concepción reported the creation of a hotline (140) to receive complaints from the population for irregular acts detected with care packages and bonds. She explained that the cases that have been reported have been placed in the hands of the authorities. 

The complaints will go to a database to be processed by the AIG. Then they will be taken to the office of the Presidency of the Republic and passed to each province so that the corresponding actions can be taken. 

Epidemiological report

Today, 1,809 patients are clinically recovered and 204 are clinically recovered. There are 191 new cases, for a cumulative total of 4,658. 

364 patients are hospitalized, of which 266 are in the wards; 98 in the intensive care unit. There are136 deceased. 

All of the official information regarding the novel coronavirus in Panama and the actions that the national government has taken are communicated on MINSA social media accounts and on the web pages (www.minsa.gob.pa and https://yomeinformopma.org/). They are also available on our hotline by dialing 169 or WhatsApp number 6997-2539.

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