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Plasma centers in Rexburg are working to create a medicine for COVID-19

Plasma creates medicine poster
Plasma creates medicine poster

REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Calling all who have recovered from COVID-19. Grifols Biomat USA Plasma Center in Rexburg needs your plasma donation.

"So what we want to do is we want to collect their plasma, and then isolate those antibody and then produce a medicine that's specific to treating COVID-19," said Grifols corporate affairs director Vlasta Hakes.

Hakes tells us the medicine which is a hyper immunoglobulin would be the first one on the market for treating COVID-19.

"The reason the medicine is of interest is a medicine versus just transferring trade plasma to a patient, is the medicine provides better concentration better dosing, is more reliable for the physician when they're using it," Hakes said.

This is different than a preventative measure like a vaccine. Hakes says the medicine will be used to actually treat the disease while we wait for a vaccine and maybe even after that.

"In addition, if once there is a vaccine, if people don't get the vaccine, or don't have the vaccine and they get COVID-19, This would be a treatment that can be used for those folks as well."

Grifols has a manufacturing plant in North Carolina ready to start developing the medicine as soon as enough plasma is collected.

Hakes tells us they're hoping the first batch of the medicine can be put into clinical trial as soon as this summer.

"Then once we have the data to show that it's effective, then we can get it out to patients."

The global healthcare company is seeking donations from COVID-19 patients throughout their 250 plasma center network nationwide.

Even if you haven't had COVID-19, the center could still use your plasma donation to create other medicines. "Whether there's a pandemic going on or not, these are life saving medicines made out of plasma that patients need," Hakes said.

Grifols has experience creating a medicine during an epidemic, Hakes tells us during the Ebloa outbreak, they were able to produce a medicine by collecting plasma from Ebola survivors in Liberia.

In Rexburg, Grifols has two plasma center locations that continue to collect donations during this pandemic. Both locations have changed their processes to ensure social distancing measures are kept and that all who enter are healthy and safe.

Hakes tells us right now the centers are operating by appointment.

“We're trying to limit the number of people in the center. We want to know how many people are going to be there. We've also spaced out the center so there's a space between the donor beds the lobbies don't have as many seats. We've enhanced all of our cleaning all of our centers are way protective equipment. We also are taking temperatures at the door of both owners and employees.”

For more information or to book an appointment click here.

If you’ve had COVID-19 and would like to donate your plasma for the cause, you can call 1-866-END-CV19 to learn more on how you can make a difference.

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Jilliana Colina

Jilliana is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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