Launches new program to supply blood products from COVID-19 convalescent donors
LOWELL, MA and MEMPHIS, TN – April 29, 2020 – Key Biologics and Astarte Biologics, together the leading provider of research- and clinical-grade human immune cells, blood products, and related services to the biopharmaceutical industry, today announced the launch of an IRB-approved initiative to support the research, therapeutic, and vaccine communities with much needed access to blood products collected from COVID-19 convalescent donors. As the world leans on its most brilliant researchers to develop much needed treatments, vaccines, and cures in the COVID-19 crisis, Key Biologics is joining the fight and supplying critical materials across the U.S. and globally.
“Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 can provide a small amount of their blood to support critical research that may help others who acquire the infection have a greater chance of recovery or lead to development of effective vaccines to prevent it,” said Dr. Edward Scott, Chief Medical Officer.
Patients recover from COVID-19 because their immune system develops effective responses to the virus. The immune system is comprised in part of special types of white blood cells that sense the presence of the virus and generate and deploy counter measures designed specifically against components of the virus. These counter measures include production of antibodies that travel through the blood and directly bind to the virus to limit its spread and speed its clearance.
The special group of white blood cells created during the infection remain in a patient’s blood for a period of time, where they are capable of responding to additional challenges by the virus. When these white blood cells are collected from a recovered individual along with a small amount of his/her antibody-rich plasma, they provide a view of the entire spectrum of the immune response to the virus.
“Mononuclear cells and plasma collected from convalescent donors may provide an opportunity for researchers to more completely evaluate the range of immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, ultimately leading to important advancements in the development of therapies and vaccines to combat this virus,” said Dr. Scott
“We have received many requests for COVID-19 blood products, and we understand how critical these materials are to researchers in their quest to develop treatments and cures,” said Jeffrey Allen, President and CEO. Allen continued, “We are excited to join the fight against COVID-19 in this time of great need and launch this new initiative in both our Memphis and Lowell locations. Life-saving research starts with access to the right high-quality materials, and we are focused on leveraging our expertise—built through years of supplying clinical-grade cell therapy products—to best support the evolving needs of our scientific community in the fight against COVID-19.”
Key Biologics is seeking COVID-19 convalescent donors to donate white blood cells and plasma. Qualified donors will be compensated for their time. Interested, fully-recovered individuals should visit www.covid19research.study for more information. Blood products will be collected in the Key Biologics’ Memphis, TN and Lowell, MA facilities.