Netherlands launches €10m blood plasma drive to fight Covid-19
The Dutch government is teaming up with blood bank organization Sanquin to collect blood plasma from former Covid-19 patients in the hope that antibodies can be used to help treat people who are actively fighting off the coronavirus disease. The Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport said it also wanted to research the possibility of using the antibodies to prevent people from becoming infected.
"Several drug manufacturers are investigating whether a drug with neutralizing antibodies can be effective and safe in the treatment and prevention of a COVID-19 infection," the ministry said in a statement. Preliminary results on experiments are expected in the fall.
Minister Hugo de Jonge committed 10 million euros to the project, which Sanquin can use to expand their services and ramp up their operations. The blood bank is also participating in an international study about the use of plasma in treatment.
Sanquin will use a portion of the money to purchase about 30 thousand kilograms of plasma from 16 thousand people who had been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus which causes Covid-19. "If the study results turn out positive, those antibodies can be used quickly to treat COVID-19 patients," the ministry said.
De Jonge noted the benefit of having a domestic source for such medication. "If the study shows that the medicine is effective and safe, we have direct access to resources that we can use to cure or protect people from the virus."
If no viable product comes from the research, the blood plasma may still be used for medicinal purposes unrelated to Covid-19, the ministry said.