“The Fight Is In Us” campaign seeks to mobilize COVID-19 survivors to accelerate the development of potentially lifesaving therapies
REDMOND, Wash., USA, and NEW YORK – 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.
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.
“As an early survivor of COVID-19, I was desperate to do whatever was in my power to be a part of the solution. I started Survivor Corps to mobilize and connect the thousands of people affected by COVID-19 to support all ongoing scientific, medical and academic research, and this coalition is furthering our goal,” said Diana Berrent, founder of Survivor Corps. “Inside COVID-19 survivors is the antibody-rich blood plasma that may help stem the tide of this pandemic. The time is now for superhero volunteers to donate their blood plasma and help stop COVID-19 in its tracks.”
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. Donating blood plasma is a generally safe and proven process. The coalition offers more than 1,500 locations at which COVID-19 survivors can choose to donate. Donations can be made at both blood and plasma donor centers.
The coalition partners are working on two distinct 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 with 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.
About The Fight Is In Us
The Fight Is In Us will help advance global research and understanding of COVID-19; progress toward effective, sustainable and widely available convalescent plasma-based therapies; and the medically sound allocation and use of convalescent plasma. The organizations and coalitions involved include leading academic medical institutions (the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program led by Mayo Clinic, Michigan State University and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis); leading plasma companies (Grifols and the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance, which includes founding members CSL Behring, Takeda, ADMA Biologics, Biopharma Plasma, Biotest, BPL, GC Pharma, Octapharma and Sanquin); leading blood centers (including the AABB, America’s Blood Centers, Blood Centers of America, New York Blood Centers and Vitalant); healthcare organizations (Anthem and Ashfield Healthcare); COVID-19 survivor groups including Survivor Corps; and media including Ad Council.
The Fight Is In Us is also supported by advisory and technology members. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lasker Foundation are providing advisory support. Microsoft Corp. is providing technology support for the development of TheFightIsInUs.org and a simple self-screening tool for potential donors. MITRE, a not-for-profit organization that operates federally funded research and development centers, is hosting both the website and tool. Uber Health has contributed 25,000 free, roundtrip Uber rides to and from plasma donor centers for those potentially eligible to donate.