As the entire world battles the Coronavirus pandemic, finding a treatment for the outbreak has become a global priority. In addition to containing the virus and improving the recovery rate, countries are also trying to manage the excruciating healthcare strain. In a potential attempt to treat COVID-19 through a convalescent plasma, a group of 10 plasma therapy companies has partnered together to form the CoVlg-19 Plasma Alliance. The alliance is attempting to develop a hyperimmune globulin treatment (HiG) made with convalescent plasma, to develop a potential cure for the pandemic.
Hope-filled History of Plasma on Virus
Convalescent plasma has previously proven to be effective in treating numerous viruses, as it contains antibodies that are likely to battle the disease. The treatment also demonstrated effectiveness back in 1918, against the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic. Dr. Toni Hoover, Director of Strategy, Planning, and Management for Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says, “This Alliance is trying to develop a treatment for people with COVID-19 from the antibodies of patients recovered from the virus. And those antibodies come from plasma, which comes from a blood donation.”
A Partnership Plan
According to statistics, over 4.3 million people have already recuperated from COVID-19. Since plasma cannot be artificially created in a laboratory, individuals who have completely recovered from the novel Coronavirus at least for over two weeks are encouraged to donate their blood plasma. When the human body successfully overcomes an infection, it develops an antibody against the virus. Antibodies are proteins found in the blood that help fight infections. Convalescent plasma or the liquid part of the blood would then be collected from healthy adults and examined to develop the hyperimmune globulin treatment. Thus, despite the absence of a conducive vaccine or treatment against the virus, patients who are no longer contagious can potentially help others in recovery.
CoVlg-19 Plasma Alliance: Insider
Presently, plasma companies, namely, BPL, Behring, Octapharma, Biotest, CSL, LFB, Takeda, ADMA Biologics, Sanquin, BioPharma Plasma, GC Pharma are a part of the CoVlg-19 Plasma Alliance, to expedite the discovery of a concentrated antibody treatment against COVID-19. Depending on the performance at clinical trials, HiG treatments may potentially be utilized for disease inhibition by administering them to frontline healthcare workers and people living in high-risk areas. To further ensure the safety, efficiency, and durability of the hyperimmune therapy in adults, the alliance is partnering with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Enterprises like Uber Health and Microsoft are also contributing to the alliance. Besides, Microsoft has provided technical support through Plasma Bot, which helps the alliance connect with survivors of COVID-19 who are willing to donate their plasma. Subsequently, Uber Health is initiating 25,000 free round-trips for transporting eligible candidates to plasma collection centers.
The first successful convalescent plasma treatment was done in 1892 with diphtheria, initially using an infected animal’s blood serum. Then, the entire plasma recovered from humans was identified as a source of antibodies. Plasma therapy was also used to treat scarlet fever in the 1920s, and horse serum was used to effectively cure tetanus until the 1970s. Similarly, the alliance aims to accelerate the event of a potential treatment for the Coronavirus outbreak, increase its supply, and improve the possibility of success. Companies that are a part of the CoVlg-19 Plasma Alliance strive to work together by prioritizing public and patient health, instead of pursuing individual research and development. However, further investigation is still underway to establish and determine whether convalescent plasma is an effective treatment for coronavirus. Also, more research is necessary to ascertain whether the procedure would reduce the duration of the illness, decrease the seriousness, or even curb fatalities related to COVID-19.