National campaign to drive blood plasma donations

May 28, 2020

A coalition of medical and research institutions, blood centers, life science companies, technology companies, philanthropic organizations, and COVID-19 survivor groups has come together to support the rapid development of potential new therapies for patients with COVID-19, according to a press release from AABB.

Working together under the “The Fight Is In Us” campaign, the coalition plans to mobilize tens of thousands of people in the United States who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their blood plasma, which contains vital antibodies that could help others fight off the disease.

COVID-19 survivors should donate their blood plasma within two months of their recovery to ensure their blood plasma contains a robust enough concentration of antibodies to have a positive effect. The coalition offers more than 1,500 locations at which COVID-19 survivors can choose to donate. Donations can be made at both blood and plasma donor centers.

The coalition partners are working on two distinct approaches for treating COVID-19 that require collection of convalescent plasma. One approach is the direct transfusion of blood plasma though an expanded access program for convalescent plasma, which is currently being administered by the Mayo Clinic with authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Its safety and efficacy are currently being evaluated through multiple clinical trials in different populations. Blood donor centers throughout the country are currently collecting convalescent plasma from COVID-19 survivors for this purpose.

The other approach is the development of a medicine known as a hyperimmune globulin (H-Ig), which is being manufactured now and will be studied in clinical trials this summer. Through the manufacturing process, the plasma is pooled, concentrated and purified, resulting in a vial of medicine with consistent levels of antibodies that is easy to store, distribute and administer to patients. Coalition members developing an H-Ig include CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance (CSL Behring, Takeda, ADMA Biologics, Biopharma Plasma, Biotest, BPL, GC Pharma, Octapharma and Sanquin) and Grifols.

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