In the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented actions to:
- Ensure the safety of our employees and their families
- Sustain continuity of our supply chain to support current and anticipated demand for our products
- Engage with regulatory authorities, blood centers, and national transfusion services to expand availability of the platelet supply
- Study the efficacy of INTERCEPT against SARS-CoV-2
- Support blood centers evaluating the use of Convalescent Plasma
Keeping our employees and their families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority. We have taken steps to ensure their safety and minimize the risk of community transmission to help reduce the rate of new infections. Headquartered in Concord, California, we are part of current state-wide orders to “shelter-in-place.” Globally, our offices and individual employees are also operating under regional health environments that restrict face-to-face interactions and movement. As a result, most of our employees are working from home to maintain Cerus’ day-to-day operations. As a biotechnology company, we are classified as an essential business and our scientists and lab personnel continue with their efforts on site to enhance the clinical utility of INTERCEPT Blood System.
In accordance with scientific advice and local requirements, we are limiting travel for our field-based support personnel to essential travel only. Our field team is collaborating with our blood center and hospital customers in new ways including the use of enabling technology such as video conferencing for technical support and training. In situations where our field team needs to be on-site, we will strive to arrive as expeditiously as possible to ensure that our customers can continue to manufacture INTERCEPT treated blood components.
Continuity of Supply
We have a critical responsibility to ensure that blood centers, hospitals, and ultimately patients maintain continuous access to our pathogen reduction technology. We maintain a robust level of safety stock for all processing sets, illuminators, and spare parts at multiple inventory locations. We also work closely with our suppliers to secure ample supplies of key components required in our manufacturing processes.
The Importance of Pathogen Reduction
We are proud of the role our products can play in maintaining a safe and available blood supply. The INTERCEPT Blood System’s broad spectrum of inactivation not only reduces the risk from transfusion transmitted pathogens, but may also help blood producers provide platelets and plasma more consistently and efficiently. For example, platelets treated with the INTERCEPT system can obviate the need to obtain separate inventories of irradiated and CMV-negative platelet units, and accelerate the release of platelet units that otherwise would require bacterial testing. In some countries, INTERCEPT treatment can also extend platelet storage up to 7 days.
Globally, we have many customers who implemented the INTERCEPT system many years ago, and continue to benefit from the prospective protection offered by use of pathogen reduction as new infectious agents continue to emerge. We are also able to support rapid installations of the system where needed, including recent and pending installations in regions impacted by COVID-19 like Italy and Spain. We believe that pathogen reduction is increasingly recognized as playing a key role in pandemic preparedness, as well as response.
Convalescent Plasma to Combat Emerging Infectious Diseases
As early as 1918, studies of convalescent blood products (transfusing blood components from patients that have recovered from a targeted disease) showed promising results as a potential therapy for viral infections. More recently, convalescent plasma was used to treat select SARS and H1N1 patients. With the emergence of Coronavirus CoV-2, the use of convalescent plasma is once again gaining interest, due to the current lack of established therapies for COVID-19 disease. We look forward to providing tools and protocols to blood centers and hospitals to produce COVID-19 convalescent plasma based on our past experience and ability to provide relevant scientific advice for data collection and analysis of treated patients.
- Hashem AM, Hassan AM, Tolah AM, Alsaadi MA, Abunada Q, Damanhouri GA, El-Kafrawy SA, Picard-Maureau M, Azhar EI, Hindawi SI. Amotosalen and ultraviolet A light efficiently inactivate MERS-coronavirus in human platelet concentrates. Transfus Med 2019 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/tme.12638)
- Hindawi SI, Hashem AM, Damanhouri GA, El-Kafrawy SA, Tolah AM, Hassan AM, Azhar EI. Inactivation of Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus in human plasma using amotosalen and ultraviolet A light. Transfusion 2018;58: 52-9 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/trf.14422)
Pinna D, Sampson-Johannes A, Clementi M, Poli G, Rossini S, Lin L, Vicenzi E. Amotosalen photochemical inactivation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus in human platelet concentrates. Transfus Med 2005;15: 269-76. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.0958-7578.2005.00588.x)
Hui DS, Azhar EI, Madani TA, Ntoumi F, Kock R, Dar O, Ippolito G, Mchugh TD, Memish ZA, Drosten C, Zumla A, Petersen E. The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health – The latest 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 91, 264 – 266 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.01.009)
INTERCEPT Blood System product information for platelets and plasma can be accessed on the US and international product websites:
US information: https://intercept-usa.com/resources/package-inserts
International information: https://www.interceptbloodsystem.com/en/resources