In partnership with CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance
As the world navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are racing to find therapies and vaccines for those who are ill, and to prevent more people from becoming seriously ill. What many now understand is that an important population may hold the key to blunting the global impact of COVID-19 — those who have recovered.
Individuals who have successfully recovered from COVID-19 have developed antibodies to clear the virus that causes COVID-19. These antibodies, present in their plasma, can be used to develop a therapeutic solution for others.
There are two ways convalescent plasma is being investigated as a potential COVID-19 treatment. One way is transfusing it directly to people who have active COVID-19. The other is using it to make a plasma-derived therapy called a hyperimmune globulin (H-IG), which has a consistent, reliable level of antibodies plus additional safety measures.
Both uses are important potential options to treat COVID-19. An H-IG therapy made from plasma has important properties that make it an especially promising potential therapy because it is pooled from many individuals and processed into a treatment with a consistent concentration of antibodies. This means it could be delivered in lower volumes and may take less time to administer than plasma itself. Further, the risk of transmission of any kind of known virus from the donor to the recipient is mitigated through the virus inactivation and removal steps incorporated into the plasma product manufacturing process. This manufacturing process is also what makes H-Ig more scalable and results in a longer shelf-life so it is easier to ship to patients around the world.
Plasma-derived therapies also have an established safety profile based upon years of clinical evidence[i] and are proven life-changing effective therapies used every day for individuals with rare and difficult-to-treat diseases. H-IG therapies were previously employed in the context of epidemics and pandemics, including the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza virus pandemic.
Right now, people who have recovered from COVID-19 have a unique opportunity to contribute to research and development that may save lives by donating their plasma. And now, through collaboration of leaders in plasma therapies, efforts to reach those at highest risk can be rapidly accelerated.
Takeda and CSL Behring have formed an alliance, with other leading plasma companies, including Biotest, BPL, LFB, and Octapharma to potentially combat COVID-19 by accelerating development of a novel H-IG plasma-derived therapy, known as CoVIg-19. This alliance enables the companies to share knowledge and capabilities and pool resources, especially in the collection of plasma, which is central to the ability to develop this potential therapeutic solution.
Together, CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance member companies can collect and process donations from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. In the U.S. alone, the Alliance operates more than 500 plasma collection centers in total, which means that there is a plasma collection center reasonably close to more than 50% of the eligible donor population. There are also efforts underway to begin collecting plasma outside of the U.S.
What is needed most now is for you, your family members, your neighbors, your friends to spread the word. If you or someone you know has recovered from COVID-19 here in the U.S., you could potentially help many others overcome this virus. Anyone who has a letter from their health care provider confirming diagnosis who has been symptom-free for 14 days can inquire about their eligibility for donating plasma to help contribute to this important investigational treatment option. Outside of the U.S., eligibility and other regulations may vary.
And you might be able to help even if you haven’t had COVID-19. Consider donating plasma today to support the thousands of people with rare, chronic, and complex diseases who rely on plasma-derived therapies every day. Many of these individuals have compromised immune systems, making them especially vulnerable to infection – often with no other treatment option available — so it is vital they have continuity of care.
For more information about plasma donation, including eligibility and locations near you, please visit www.CoVIg-19plasmaalliance.org. The Alliance takes the safety of employees and donors very seriously and is taking all possible precautionary measures to ensure their donation centers are safe for both their employees and donors.
[i] Perez. 2019. Immunoglobulin Use in Immune Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease States