BioIVT opens new blood donor center to support Boston-area COVID-19 research

April 9, 2020

BioIVT, a provider of research models and services for drug and diagnostic development, announced the opening of its new blood donor center on the Tufts University campus in Medford, MA, to support academic and pharmaceutical researchers involved in COVID-19, cell and gene therapy research.

BioIVT’s new location in Boston is its seventh blood donor center. The company has similar facilities located in California, Tennessee and Pennsylvania to serve U.S. clients and in London, UK, for EU-based clients.

“While the initial focus at our Boston donor center will be on delivering fresh blood, leukopaks and buffy coats within hours of collection, we plan to add more capabilities and donors over time,” said Jeff Widdoss, Vice President of Donor Center Operations at BioIVT.

Leukopaks, which contain concentrated white blood cells, are used to help identify promising new drug candidates, assess toxicity levels, and conduct stem cell and gene therapy research. They are particularly useful for researchers who need to obtain large numbers of leukocytes from a single donor.

BioIVT blood products can be supplied with specific clinical data, such as the donor age, ethnicity, gender, BMI and smoking status. Its leukopaks are also human leukocyte antigen (HLA), FC receptor and cytomegalovirus typed. HLA typing is used to match patients and donors for bone marrow or cord blood transplants. FC receptors play an important role in antibody-dependent immune responses.

Blood donor centers are considered essential businesses and will remain open during the COVID-19 quarantine. BioIVT is taking additional safety measures to protect both blood donors and its staff during this difficult time. It has instituted several social distancing measures, including increasing the space between chairs in the waiting room and between donor beds, and limiting the entrance of non-essential personnel. The screening rooms are disinfected between donors and all areas of the center continue to be cleaned at regular intervals.

As soon as each blood donor signs their informed consent form, their temperature is taken. If they have a fever, their appointment is postponed, and they are referred to their physician. Any donor who develops COVID-19 symptoms after donating blood is required to inform the center immediately.

All BioIVT blood collections are conducted under institutional review board (IRB) oversight and according to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) guidelines.

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