Sanquin blood bank has collected a large amount of blood plasma for a new corona drug. Ten thousand donors have already registered, but plasma from thousands of others is still needed from people who have had corona. Their plasma contains antibodies that can be used for the drug.
Merlijn van Hasselt from Sanquin talks about the plasma donations. “It is absolutely encouraging that so many people have come by. But we are not there yet, we need at least 16 thousand.”
The blood bank needs 30,000 kilos of plasma to develop the corona drug. About 50 thousand people have to make a donation for this. This can only be people who have had corona, because only they have the antibodies in their body for the first six months after infection.
Donating blood plasma is just like taking blood samples, but then it takes a little longer. The antibodies from the plasma are filtered. These antibodies can then be administered to risk groups.
Van Hasselt: “Until there is no vaccine, we can protect high-risk groups, such as people who are already undergoing chemo or have lung problems, by administering those antibodies.”
Should someone become infected with corona, the antibodies help to attack the corona. “We hope it provides temporary immunity, but your body does not understand that there was a threat and does not produce antibodies of its own. The drug must therefore be administered repeatedly until the actual vaccine is available.”