Join us to be a part of this historic effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
YOUR PLASMA IS NEEDED NOW!
Are you eligible to donate? If you had confirmed COVID-19, and your doctor has confirmed that you have fully recovered and are no longer contagious, we encourage you to contact your nearest plasma collection center as soon as possible.
If you’re not yet eligible, we’d still like to hear from you! Click here to express interest in participating and we will contact you.
What is the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance?
COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge. The CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance is an unprecedented partnership of the world’s leading plasma companies, spanning plasma collection, development, production, and distribution. Rather than pursue our individual research, we are putting public and patient health first by working together. Our goals are to accelerate the development of a potential treatment, improve our chances of success, and increase supply of the potential treatment.
In addition to those announced at its inception—Biotest, BPL, CSL Behring, LFB, Octapharma, and Takeda—the Alliance welcomes new industry members ADMA Biologics, BioPharma Plasma, GC Pharma, and Sanquin. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing advisory support. Microsoft is providing technology including the Alliance website and the Plasma Bot for donor recruitment.
What is Plasma?
Plasma is the pale yellow liquid portion of your blood, and it can be easily replaced by your body. It consists mainly of water and proteins, which help your body control bleeding and infection.
Plasma is processed into a wide variety of life-saving treatments that help thousands of people every day. These plasma-derived therapies are used to treat serious and rare diseases which often have few other treatment options. It is important to remember that human plasma cannot be made in a lab or by artificial methods. It only comes from healthy adults. Plasma donors help save and improve the lives of those suffering from serious and rare diseases.
What Is CoVIg-19?
Plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 — known as “convalescent plasma” — could be a key part of the fight against the new coronavirus. Once the plasma is donated, it can take one of two paths: be directly transfused into patients, or used to make a potential medicine for COVID-19.
Both of these approaches are important and some hospitals are already using direct transfusion to treat severe COVID-19 patients.
The CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance is developing a hyperimmune globulin (H-Ig) called CoVIg-19. This potential medicine requires plasma donated by people who have fully recovered from COVID-19, since their plasma contains antibodies against the virus.
How is plasma transfusion different from a plasma-derived therapy?
The CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance welcomes a wide range of efforts to fight COVID-19, including vaccines and other treatments. We believe both convalescent plasma transfusion and hyperimmune globulin potentially have important roles to play, so it is important to understand the two approaches.
Convalescent Plasma Transfusion
Plasma that has been collected from recovered patients and is transfused directly to people experiencing serious complications from COVID-19.
Plasma that has been collected from recovered patients and is further processed into a medicine called hyperimmune globulin. It is a potential treatment for people at risk for serious complications from COVID-19.
Donated plasma directly transfused. Plasma from a donor is transfused directly to a patient. The process includes viral inactivation and blood-group matching between CP and recipient.
Donated plasma pooled and processed. Plasma donations from many people who have recovered from COVID-19 are sent to manufacturing facilities. There, the plasma is pooled together and processed to remove or inactivate viruses and concentrate the antibodies.
Shorter-term use. Minimal processing means faster availability. Can be available for use the same day plasma is collected, but must be infused or frozen within 24 hours.
Longer-term use. Because it requires more processing, it will take longer for H-Ig to be available. However, it has a longer shelf life (from 24-36 months), which could make it easier to distribute and store for use in future outbreaks.
Antibody levels vary by donor. Because the amount and range of antibodies in a unit of plasma provided to a patient is dependent on an individual donation, it is challenging to deliver a standardized dose.
Consistent antibody potency. Because it is made from pooled convalescent plasma that has been purified and concentrated, H-Ig is standardized so it has a consistent level of antibodies in each unit.
Less potent antibody concentration. Because plasma is minimally processed, it has a broad range of virus-specific antibodies per unit of volume.
More potent antibody concentration. Because it is highly concentrated through the manufacturing process and contains antibodies from many donations, H-Ig contains more virus-specific antibodies per unit of volume.
If you had confirmed COVID-19, and your doctor has confirmed that you have fully recovered and are no longer contagious, we encourage you to click this link to see if you may be eligible to donate plasma and help others.
How you can help
How you can help
As the new coronavirus continues to spread, the rate of COVID-19 cases continues to rise worldwide. We urgently need survivors like you to help us develop a potential medicine. Click here to learn more.
How your Plasma helps
When you recover from COVID-19, you develop antibodies against the virus, which are present in your plasma. This is known as convalescent plasma. By pooling together convalescent plasma from many recovered donors and concentrating these antibodies into a potential therapy, we may be able to help people at risk for serious complications from COVID-19 better fight the disease.
What’s the process?
Donating your plasma is the essential first step in the journey to develop a potential medicine for COVID-19. Here are the steps we plan to follow:
Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 donate their plasma, which contains antibodies that could help the immune system fight the new coronavirus. The proteins found in plasma are the most important ingredients in making a potential medicine.
Plasma collected from individual patients is pooled together, processed and purified, and concentrated into a liquid that contains a consistently high level of antibodies to the new coronavirus.
We need to test the potential medicine to ensure it is safe and effective. We are hoping to begin clinical trials this summer.
If the results of the clinical trials show that the potential medicine works as intended, regulatory authorities like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as well as others around the world, may approve it as a medicine for people at risk for serious complications from COVID-19.
If approved, the Alliance will manufacture the potential medicine on a larger scale and make it available for use. The timeline depends on many factors, but if successful, the potential medicine could be available this year, making it one of the earliest approved medicines for COVID-19.
This overview provides a general overview of the biopharmaceutical development process. It should not be construed as making any claims about any potential medicine, including the timeline for, and/or outcomes of, clinical trials and/or regulatory approval.
Understanding Plasma Donation
Donating plasma is safe. Plasmapheresis (pronounced “plaz-muh-fuh-REE-sis”), the process of donating plasma, has been used for decades. The supplies used in collecting the plasma are sterile and are used only once. This ensures that everything that comes in contact with your blood is safe.
Here are some of the key steps to donate your plasma:
You will need to show identification, provide contact information, and take a photo and fingerprint scan to be entered into the plasma collection center’s electronic system. A collection center staff member will check for your name in a national registry to make sure you are eligible to donate. All identification and medical information is strictly confidential.
All donors must pass a pre-donation screening at every visit and, if you have not donated plasma before, you will be interviewed about your medical history. Typical questions include medications, allergies, medical conditions, and surgeries. You will also receive a routine health exam. The goal of this screening is to make sure that the donation is safe for both you and the recipients of the final product.
3. Donation Area
If your eligibility has been confirmed, you will be led to the donation area. Here you rest on a recliner while connected to an automated machine, and carefully monitored by staff throughout the donation process. You are welcome to relax, read, or use free Wi-Fi to watch your favorite shows.
4. Plasma Collection
The safe and sterile process for donating plasma is similar to donating blood, except that plasma is separated and collected while red and white blood cells are returned to the body. This process is automatically repeated until a target amount of plasma has been collected.
Importantly, the supplies used in collecting the plasma are sterile and are used only once. This ensures the safety of everything that comes in contact with you and your plasma.
Questions & Answers
Please see the topics below for questions about how you can help contribute to a potential COVID-19 medicine with your convalescent plasma. If you don’t see your question here, please contact CoVIg-19Alliance@Microsoft.com.
Planning for your donation
Is donating plasma safe?
Donating plasma is generally a safe and proven process.
The tubing and all other equipment that comes in contact with your blood is discarded and replaced with new, sterile materials each time a donation is made. Your blood never enters the collection machine. We also use sterile techniques for drawing blood.
Does donating plasma hurt?
If you can tolerate donating blood, or giving blood during medical appointments, you should be able to tolerate plasma donation. Our highly trained professionals take great care to minimize any possible discomfort.
Will I feel faint or weak afterwards?
In rare occasions, some donors might feel faint or weak after making a donation. Personnel at the collection center are trained to recognize and deal with any adverse event that might occur. Unlike donating blood, which sometimes does make people feel faint or weak because they lose red blood cells, the plasma donation process returns both red and white blood cells back to your body. Drinking plenty of water the day before and the day of your donation will help you feel fine after your donation. That said, if you have a history of feeling faint at the sight of blood, please let the plasma collection center staff know.
Can I donate more than once?
You certainly may donate more than once — so long as you’re screened as eligible at each donation. We encourage you to consider becoming a regular plasma donor to help save lives! Plasma is used in a variety of therapies, including to help treat serious and rare diseases.
Where can I donate?
There are hundreds of licensed collection centers across the US. Find your nearest center by clicking on this link.
I have young children. Can I bring them with me?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, to help prevent the spread of the virus, donors are encouraged to visit plasma centers without accompanying guests or children. This is for the health and safety of you and your loved ones as well as other donors and plasma collection staff.
Do I need to tell my doctor or insurance company that I’m donating?
Under FDA requirements, convalescent plasma may only be collected from individuals who meet all donor eligibility qualifications. This includes evidence of lab results that show you were diagnosed with COVID-19 or evidence of a diagnostic test showing you have the SARS-CoV-2 antibodies after recovery if prior diagnostic testing was not performed at the time of your infection. In addition, individuals wanting to donate must be symptom-free at least 28 days prior to a plasma donation or symptom-free for at least 14 days.
You shouldn’t need to inform your insurance provider, as you will not be charged in any way for your donation.
Do I need to change my diet?
In general, no. However, you should be well-nourished. Please eat a light but healthy meal three hours before your donation. This means a meal that is high in protein (such as eggs, fish, or nuts), rich in iron (such as tuna, lean red meat, nuts, or beans), and low in fat (fatty or fried foods can interfere with laboratory testing). Since plasma is 90% water, you should also be well-hydrated, so drink plenty of water, juice, or other fluids the day before your donation. Please do not drink any alcohol the night before or the day of your donation.
Why do you need to know if I’m 18 years old or older?
Being older than 18 is required by the FDA for plasma donation.
Why do you need to know that I weigh more than 110 pounds?
Weighing more than 110 pounds is required by the FDA for plasma donation.
Why do you need to know if I’ve ever had a confirmed positive test for HIV, or Hepatitis B or C?
Never having had a positive test for HIV, or Hepatitis B or C is required by the FDA for plasma donation.
Why do you need to know my ZIP Code?
ZIP Code is used to determine the closest participating plasma centers, for those who wish to potentially donate.
How convalescent plasma is used
Will my donated plasma go directly to a COVID-19 patient?
No. Plasma collected from individual donors is pooled with plasma collected from other COVID-19 recovered plasma donors, processed, and concentrated into a liquid that contains antibodies. This potential plasma-derived therapy must then be tested in clinical trials to determine if it is safe and effective before it may be approved as a medicine.
Why aren’t you giving donated plasma directly to COVID-19 patients through transfusions?
Plasma collected from those who have recovered from COVID-19 – known as “convalescent plasma” – contains antibodies that may help fight the virus. This plasma can be used in two ways. One way is transfusing it directly to people who currently have COVID-19. The other opportunity is to use the plasma in larger scale to make a potential medicine called a polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-Ig), which concentrates the antibodies into a medicine.
Both uses are important, and both have the potential to treat COVID-19. We welcome all initiatives to address the pandemic, including vaccines and other treatments. The work of The CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance is focusing on developing an H-Ig, which we believe has properties that make it a promising candidate for a potential, large-scale, global medicine for COVID-19.
How is H-Ig different than convalescent plasma transfusion?
Because H-Ig has a higher concentration of antibodies, it can be delivered in lower volumes, and therefore could take less time to administer to patients than plasma itself. H-Ig also has a longer shelf life, which permits storage for an outbreak in the future. Both of these attributes could make H-Ig easier for hospitals to store and administer to patients.
The typical manufacturing process used to produce plasma-based therapies makes it possible to set standards for antibody levels. This process, which includes numerous steps of virus inactivation and removal, significantly reduces the risk of transmitting any kind of virus (not just coronavirus) from donors to patients.
Plasma-derived therapies, like H-Ig, have already been shown to be effective in treating severe viral respiratory infections. The work of the Alliance is determining whether they may also be a potential option for treating patients who are at risk for serious complications from COVID-19.
Is this part of the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project?
No. Though you might have heard about that or similar efforts recently, or even know someone who is participating in them, the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance is an initiative led by the world’s leading plasma experts. A key difference is that we are not giving plasma itself to COVID-19 patients, but instead using the plasma we collect to help develop a potential therapy on a large scale.
Is this the same as a vaccine?
No. We are working on a potential medicine that is designed to give people "passive" immunity to the new coronavirus. This potential medicine, known as a hyperimmune globulin, contains antibodies that help the immune system immediately fight the coronavirus. Vaccines create “active” immunity, in which the immune system develops its own antibodies over several weeks. This process takes much more time, so vaccines take longer to be effective. A hyperimmune globulin, in contrast, immediately provides passive immunity lasting as long as a month.
About Microsoft and the data collected
What is Microsoft’s role in this program?
Microsoft developed and is hosting the Plasma Bot to help people who have recovered from COVID-19 understand if they may qualify for convalescent plasma donation and to help them find participating plasma collection centers. Microsoft is also hosting the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance plasma donation recruitment website to share more information about the initiative.
Is any personally identifiable information collected or shared when I use the Plasma Bot?
No, no personally identifiable information is collected or shared.
How will the data I enter be used?
Microsoft will use the data to operate the Plasma Bot. Microsoft will store the answers you provide and will share this data in an aggregated form with the Alliance only to improve the plasma donation program. Microsoft may also share aggregate findings with the general public through journal publications, collaborations with other scientists, or postings to track developments in the effort to fight COVID-19.
Will Microsoft sell my data?
No, Microsoft will not sell your data.
How else can I help fight COVID-19?
If you know someone else who has recovered from COVID-19, please encourage them to visit this website to learn more about the opportunity to donate their plasma as well!
Who should I contact if I have questions?
Please contact CoVIg-19Alliance@Microsoft.com with any questions.
For general questions about plasma, plasma donation, and the importance of plasma-derived therapies, please visit DonatingPlasma.org.