CSL Behring, one of the world leaders in pharmaceutical research and manufacturing, is offering its services to governments around the world to aid in the battle against COVID-19.
Earlier this week, the Australia-based company — which has a massive manufacturing plant in Bourbonnais Township and is Kankakee County’s largest manufacturing employer with 1,700 employees — said it would lend its expertise, technologies and facilities to help support rapid, scaled development of vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus.
The company also made the offer to the World Health Organization.
“We offered our assistance to governments in a number of geographies in which we operate over the last month,” said Maureen Powell, CSL Kankakee site head of communication. “We are engaged with several of them, including the United States and Australia.”
In a CSL news release, the company noted it is exploring development of a hyperimmune serum that could be derived from the blood plasma of people who have recovered from the coronavirus. Once an adequate number of recovered patients is identified, it would be the company’s hope that it could begin to collect their plasma and create a hyperimmue serum — enriched with COV-19 antibodies to use as a therapy.
Although much research and testing is needed, the thought is that antibodies found in the plasma of now-healthy coronavirus patients could potentially be used to boost the immune response of those who are struggling with the infection.
As we are all learning, the virus causes flu-like illness in many, but those who are older — mostly those 60 or older — have additional medical conditions and are at higher risk of health complications and even death.
Kankakee County officials noted just Thursday that the county had its first confirmed case of COVID-19. The man, who is in his 70s, is in self-quarantine at his home.
CSL officials noted they would need government assistance to locate recovered patients as possible donors of their antibodies.
CSL noted its core business is the development and large-scale manufacture of plasma-based therapies, recombinant proteins and influenza vaccines. CSL is the largest global provider of plasma-based therapies for chronic, life-threatening conditions such as hemophilia and primary immunodeficiency.
“Though CSL isn’t directly working on a coronavirus vaccine, our scientists are available to consult and collaborate with other teams,” the company noted in a press release. CSL researchers are providing scientific and technical production advice to coronavirus vaccine research teams at the University of Queensland in Australia.