(Redmond, WA, Tuesday, May 26, 2020) – 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. This campaign includes “CoVIg 19” Plasma Alliance, Mayo Clinic, Lasker Foundation, Microsoft; and Survivor Corps, the leading grassroots movement connecting COVID-19 survivors with the medical, scientific, and academic research community.
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.
There are two 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 under temporary emergency use 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 CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance (CSL Behring, Takeda, ADMA Biologics, Biopharma Plasma, Biotest, BPL, GC Pharma, Octapharma and Sanquin) and Grifols.
As the number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 rises and the window for peak immunity narrows, the coalition is working quickly to recruit potential donors with an initial focus on the United States.
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. The coalition offers more than 1,500 locations at which survivors can choose to donate. Uber Health has contributed 25,000 free, roundtrip Uber rides to and from plasma donor centers for those who are potentially eligible to donate.