A coalition of world-leading 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. Working together under the “The Fight Is In Us” campaign, the coalition is seeking 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 have fought off the disease and could now help others do the same.
The campaign is working against two urgent timelines: to recruit COVID-19 survivors within two months of their recovery to ensure that their blood plasma contains a robust enough concentration of antibodies to have a positive effect, and to address the substantial seasonal increase in COVID-19 cases anticipated this fall in the Northern Hemisphere by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health experts.
“As an early survivor of COVID-19, I was desperate to do whatever was in my power to be a part of the solution. I started Survivor Corps to mobilize and connect the thousands of people affected by COVID-19 to support all ongoing scientific, medical and academic research, and this coalition is furthering our goal,” said Diana Berrent, founder of Survivor Corps. “Inside COVID-19 survivors is the antibody-rich blood plasma that may help stem the tide of this pandemic. The time is now for superhero volunteers to donate their blood plasma and help stop COVID-19 in its tracks.”
Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, or know someone who has, can visit TheFightIsInUs.org to understand if they may be eligible to donate and find a nearby blood or plasma donor center using a simple self-screening tool. Donating blood plasma is a generally safe and proven process. 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 both urgently require collection of convalescent plasma now. One approach is the direct transfusion of blood plasma though the Expanded Access Program for convalescent plasma, which is currently being administered with authorization from the Food & Drug Administration by Mayo Clinic. 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 the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance (CSL Behring, Takeda, ADMA Biologics, Biopharma Plasma, Biotest, BPL, GC Pharma, LFB, Octapharma and Sanquin) and Grifols.
About “The Fight Is In Us”
“The Fight Is In Us” is an initiative to maximize the individual and societal benefit of COVID-19 plasma. The campaign will focus on recruiting COVID-19 survivors to donate their plasma at licensed blood and plasma donor centers. The campaign will begin in the United States, and then expand to Europe.
This is a united effort bringing together several coalitions and organizations, including academic medical institutions (the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program led by Mayo Clinic and including Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis); plasma companies (Grifols and the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance including those announced at its inception—Biotest, BPL, CSL Behring, LFB, Octapharma, and Takeda—and new members ADMA Biologics, Biopharma Plasma, GC Pharma, and Sanquin); national blood center organizations (including the AABB, America’s Blood Centers and Blood Centers of America;); health benefits company Anthem Inc.; health care diagnostics company LabCorp; grassroots, survivor, and non-profit groups including Stop the Spread, Survivor Corps, and XPRIZE; and marketing and media support from the Ad Council. Ashfield Healthcare is providing contact center service to support COVID-19 survivors.
“The Fight Is In Us” is also supported by advisory and technology members. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lasker Foundation are providing advisory support. Microsoft is providing technology support for the recruitment website and self-qualification tool. The website and tool are hosted by the MITRE Corporation. MITRE is appreciative of the Microsoft AI for Health program for their support of MITRE’s hosting of the recruitment website and self-qualification tool in the Azure cloud. Uber Health is providing free, roundtrip Uber rides to and from donor the centers for those who are eligible to donate.
The combined efforts of these organizations will contribute specialist advisory expertise, technical guidance and additional support to potentially save more lives — together. But the coalition’s success depends on the urgent support of survivor donors around the world. Those who have recovered from COVID-19 can learn more about how to donate their strength and about the coalition partners at TheFightIsInUs.org.
AABB is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the fields of transfusion medicine and biotherapies. The Association is committed to improving health through the development and delivery of standards, accreditation and educational programs that focus on optimizing patient and donor care and safety. AABB membership includes physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers, administrators, medical technologists and other health care providers. AABB members are located in more than 80 countries and AABB accredits institutions in more than 50 countries. For more information, visit: www.aabb.org.
About Bio Products Laboratory (BPL)
Recognising the power of plasma and with over 60 years heritage in the industry, BPL supplies high-quality plasma derived medicines to meet the needs of clinicians, patients and customers globally. Headquartered in the United Kingdom and with plasma collection centres across the United States, we are dedicated to producing medicines for the treatment of immune deficiencies, bleeding disorders and infectious diseases as well for critical care. BPL invests in the latest R&D, technology and manufacturing methods, and continuously adapts to ensure that we continue to serve all our stakeholders effectively. For more information visit http://www.bplgroup.com.
About the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance
In an effort to help fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a new alliance was created in April 2020 to help develop a potential plasma-derived therapy for people at risk for serious complications from COVID-19.
The CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance brings together world-leading plasma companies to work on the development of an investigational unbranded polyclonal anti-SARS-CoV-2 hyperimmune globulin medicine with the potential to treat patients who are at risk for serious complications from COVID-19.
The “I” and “g” in CoVIg-19 stand for immune globulin, which the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance will use to concentrate the antibodies into a potential medicine.
The Alliance, formed by CSL Behring and Takeda, also includes the leading-edge expertise of Biotest, BPL, LFB, and Octapharma. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing advisory support. Microsoft is providing technology including the Alliance website and the Plasma Bot for donor recruitment. Experts from the Alliance are collaborating across key aspects such as plasma collection, clinical trial development, and product manufacturing.
About CSL Behring
CSL Behring is a global biotherapeutics leader driven by its promise to save lives. Focused on serving patients’ needs by using the latest technologies, we develop and deliver innovative therapies that are used to treat coagulation disorders, primary immune deficiencies, hereditary angioedema, inherited respiratory disease, and neurological disorders. The company’s products are also used in cardiac surgery, burn treatment and to prevent hemolytic disease of the newborn. CSL Behring operates one of the world’s largest plasma collection networks, CSL Plasma. The parent company, CSL Limited (ASX:CSL;USOTC:CSLLY), headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, employs more than 26,000 people, and delivers its life-saving therapies to people in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.cslbehring.com and for inspiring stories about the promise of biotechnology, visit Vita www.cslbehring.com/Vita.
Grifols is a global healthcare company founded in Barcelona in 1909 committed to improving the health and well-being of people around the world. Its four divisions – Bioscience, Diagnostic, Hospital and Bio Supplies – develop, produce and market innovative solutions and services that are sold in more than 100 countries.
Pioneers in the plasma industry, Grifols operates a growing network of donation centers worldwide. It transforms collected plasma into essential medicines to treat chronic, rare and, at times, life-threatening conditions. As a recognized leader in transfusion medicine, Grifols also offers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions designed to enhance safety from donation to transfusion. In addition, the company supplies tools, information and services that enable hospitals, pharmacies and healthcare professionals to efficiently deliver expert medical care.
Grifols, with more than 24,000 employees in 30 countries and regions, is committed to a sustainable business model that sets the standard for continuous innovation, quality, safety and ethical leadership.
The company’s class A shares are listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange, where they are part of the Ibex-35 (MCE:GRF). Grifols non-voting class B shares are listed on the Mercado Continuo (MCE:GRF.P) and on the U.S. NASDAQ through ADRs (NASDAQ:GRFS).
For more information, please visit www.grifols.com.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news and An Inside Look at Mayo Clinic for more information about Mayo.
Headquartered in Lachen, Switzerland, Octapharma is one of the largest human protein manufacturers in the world, developing and producing human proteins from human plasma and human cell lines. Octapharma employs more than 10,000 people worldwide to support the treatment of patients in 118 countries with products across three therapeutic areas: Hematology; Immunotherapy and Critical care. Octapharma has seven R&D sites and six state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Austria, France, Germany, Mexico and Sweden, with a combined capacity of approximately 8 mil litres of plasma per annum. In addition, Octapharma operates more than 140 plasma donation centres across Europe and the US. For more information, visit www.octapharma.com.
About Survivor Corps
Survivor Corps is the largest grassroots movement in America dedicated to actively ending this pandemic. We are mobilizing all those affected by COVID-19 to support all ongoing scientific, medical and academic research to find a vaccine and a cure. We hope to get people back into their communities and back to work, all while fostering the spirit of unity and solidarity that is urgently needed during this time of crisis.
With every passing day, thousands of people across the country are being infected with COVID-19. The vast majority will survive and most will likely develop antibodies to the virus. The mysteries to this virus will be solved, in part, by individual donations to scientific research.
Survivor Corps is the epicenter of HOPE. For more information, visit www.survivorcorps.com.
About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE:4502/NYSE:TAK) is a global, values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader headquartered in Japan, committed to bringing Better Health and a Brighter Future to patients by translating science into highly-innovative medicines. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on four therapeutic areas: Oncology, Rare Diseases, Neuroscience, and Gastroenterology (GI). We also make targeted R&D investments in Plasma-Derived Therapies and Vaccines. We are focusing on developing highly innovative medicines that contribute to making a difference in people's lives by advancing the frontier of new treatment options and leveraging our enhanced collaborative R&D engine and capabilities to create a robust, modality-diverse pipeline. Our employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients and to working with our partners in health care in approximately 80 countries.
For more information, visit https://www.takeda.com.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.