Grifols is a global health-care company that has been in business more than 100 years and is a recognized leader in the development and production of plasma-derived medicines with a network of more than 250 centers operating under the names of Biomat USA Inc., Interstate Blood Bank Inc., and Talecris Plasma Resources, Inc.
Vlasta Hakes with Grifols joined us to tell us more about plasma and why donations are needed now more than ever.
She says plasma is a portion of the blood that is used as the starting material to make life-saving medicines that treat rare and chronic conditions. Plasma contains many proteins and antibodies that help our bodies function.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted collections by stay-at-home orders and social-distancing measures so plasma donors are needed now to make theses medicines. For may patients there are no alternative treatments. They depend on plasma medicines and the generosity of donors to lead a more normal life. These patients continue to need their treatments and they also happen to be more susceptible to COVID-19.
Hakes says Grifols has acted with urgency during this global crisis by collecting plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 at their donor centers across the United States. They want to harness and concentrate those antibodies that are in their plasma to produce a medicine that could potentially treat the disease.
Grifols believes that this medicine, a hyperimmune globulin therapy, can offer predictable and consistent dosing of the antibody against the virus that causes COVID-19. It will also bridge the time while we wait for a vaccine and can also be used alongside a vaccine once there is one.
Plasma donation is a painless procedure that thousands of people do each day. It's a great way to take a break in the middle of the day while helping others!
Those interested should visit grifolsplasma.com to learn more.
All donors receive a thorough health screening at each donation. Once they are screened then they undergo the plasmapheresis process where a machine draws the donor's blood, the plasma is separated from the blood, and the red blood cells are returned.
Since plasma is mostly water plus therapeutic proteins and antibodies, the body quickly regenerates the plasma so a donor can give up to twice a week with a full day between donations.
This is important because lots of donations are needed – it takes anywhere for 130 to 1300 donations to make enough medicine to treat just one patient for one year.
So Grifols is asking that people take the time to become regular donors.
It is recommend that donors eat a healthy meal, drink plenty of fluids, and get a good night of sleep prior to coming in to donate plasma. Once at the center, they can relax, check their phone or catch up on their latest tv show!
The safety of donors and employees is Grifols number one priority. Grifols has implemented protocols as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 .
There is a full lost of all safety protocols on their website grifolsplasma.com.