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Takeda Group Begins Manufacturing COVID-19 Plasma Treatment Ahead of Approval | Top News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Takeda Pharmaceutical Co-led group that is developing a blood plasma treatment for COVID-19 has started manufacturing while the late-stage trial to determine whether it works is ongoing, Takeda Chief Executive Christophe Weber said on Monday.

The group, known as the CoVIg Plasma Alliance, enrolled its first patient in the Phase III trial on Friday after months of delays. It aims to enroll 500 adult patients from the United States, Mexico and 16 other countries and hope to have results by the end of the year.

“The likelihood it works is very high,” Weber said in an interview. “And that’s why we have launched a campaign in order to accelerate the donation of convalescent plasma to manufacture and produce this product.”

The alliance, which includes CSL Behring, Germany’s Biotest AG and other companies, is testing a hyperimmune globulin therapy, which is derived from blood plasma of people who have recovered from COVID-19. Hyperimmune globulin therapy offers a standardized dose of antibodies and does not need to be limited to patients with matching blood types.

That makes it more advanced and convenient than treatment with convalescent plasma drawn from recovered patients.

The manufacturing process is expensive.

Weber said the treatment could be slightly more costly to make than monoclonal antibody treatments like the ones Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Eli Lilly and Co have developed. The alliance does not intend to profit from the treatment, Weber said.

The Takeda CEO said he does not know how many doses of the treatment the group will be able to produce by the end of the year. That will depend on donations as well as the dosage size they decide to test in the clinical trial.

The trial will test the hyperimmune globulin therapy in combination with Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir compared with patients who get remdesivir alone, he said.

(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Convalescent plasma used to produce medicine

LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) – Over 12,000 people in our area have recovered from COVID-19, meaning thousands could possibly be eligible to donate convalescent plasma.

a person looking at a laptop: The use of convalescent plasma

© Provided by Laredo KGNS-TV
The use of convalescent plasma

Last week we showed you how a recovered patient who wants to donate to the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center would need to travel to San Antonio or wait for a donation drive to be hosted.

However, commercial plasma centers are also an option and KGNS shares what these facilities are doing with their convalescent plasma donations.

For several decades Grifols, a global healthcare company, has been producing medicine that comes from plasma for the medical industry.

It’s current goal is to develop medication that could possibly treat COVID-19.

“Based on some of our knowledge on plasma medicine, we are looking to produce a medicine that can potentially treat COVID-19,” said Vlasta Hakes of Grifols.

With over 250 plasma centers across the country, it has been in search of COVID-19 survivors.

“We’ve been collecting and other centers across the United States including our centers and Laredo, and once this plasma is collected it actually goes to our manufacturing facility in North Carolina. In North Carolina it is where we start producing the medicine.”

Basically when you donate at plasma centers like Grifols, your convalescent plasma is contributing to medical research and the development of medication, unlike when you donate to non-profit centers, who supply hospitals with convalescent plasma for immediate patient treatment.

After recovering from COVID-19, Kristian Rossell says she always knew she was going to donate her plasma.

“As soon as I got better and as soon as I did some research as to where they were doing it in Laredo, I signed up and came to donate.”

She describes the process as easy and says it’s the least she can do after being one of the lucky ones.

Grifols requires donors to have recovered from COVID-19, proof of a positive lab test, be 28 days or more symptom-free, and commit to a minimum of 2 donations.

“It takes multiple donations to make enough of this medicine. Unlike blood that it’s only one donation that can help many. We need many donations because it takes a lot of donations to make this medicine.”

The company does financially compensate those who donate at its centers.

Grifols says it will now move toward starting clinical trials.

“We are working with the National Institute of Health, and other federal agencies on this trial. So we are waiting, any day it should start.”

Grifols has two location in Laredo under the name Biomat.

Copyright 2020 KGNS. All rights reserved.

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