Update 2 April 2020
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and plasma and plasma derived medicinal products
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, is spreading all over the world.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease, it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face, and minimize contacts with other people.
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that is transmitted by droplets and there is no evidence of its transmission by blood or plasma. However, it is important that the pandemic is monitored carefully since it might have an effect on future plasma supply.
Regarding the safety of plasma derived medicinal products (PDMPs), it is important to note that viral inactivation and elimination procedures employed in the manufacturing processes of PDMPs are sufficient to destroy lipid-enveloped viruses like COVID-19. The donation of blood and plasma continue to be safe process and at collection centers precautionary measures are taken to protect donors and personnel from COVID-19 transmission.
The need for plasma donations is a great as ever. The support of current and new donors remains critical to maintain an adequate supply of blood and plasma during the pandemic. No disruptions in plasma-derived product supplies have been detected to date.
IPFA is therefore monitoring global developments and a number of its members is contributing, scientifically and practically, in controlling the spread or contributing to the treatment of the disease.
For example, the Vitalant Research Institute is involved in studies to address COVID-19 and has initiated a scientific research programme.
Sanquin in The Netherlands has started screening 10,000 random blood donors for the presence of antibodies against COVID-19 in order to understand the evolving epidemiology of the disease over the country and more particular on the development of group immunity in relation to the speed a community acquires immunity against COVID-19. Further, recently Sanquin started collecting convalescent plasma from cured COVID-19 patients. In a research setting, hospitals will investigate whether the antibodies in the plasma of cured corona patients are capable of reducing corona symptoms in other patients.
Below you will find links to a number of websites with further information. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.
- CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US)
- ECDC – EU Center for Disease Prevention and Control
- EMA – European Medicines Agency
- FDA – Food and Drug Agency
- ISBT – International Society of Blood Transfusion
- Points to consider in the preparation and transfusion of COVID-19 convalescent plasma – Jay Epstein1 & Thierry Burnouf2 On behalf of the ISBT Working Party on Global Blood Safety
- NIH – National Institutes of Health
- The New England Journal of Medicine
- WFH – World Federation of Hemophilia
- WHO – World Health Organization
- Worldometer – Global data