Health minister Greg Hunt says the federal government welcomes the announcement by CSL Behring that Australia will be one of the first countries in the world to start production of a potentially lifesaving plasma-derived treatment for people with COVID-19.
The product, COVID-19 Immunoglobulin, could be used to treat people seriously ill with complications caused by the virus, particularly those whose illness is progressing towards the need for ventilation.
Victoria is host to one of the first facilities in the world to start production of COVID-19 Immunoglobulin, supporting clinical trials of the treatment in Australia.
It will be developed and manufactured at the CSL Behring Australia advanced manufacturing facility in Broadmeadows.
The product will be developed using plasma donations made in Australia by people who have recovered from COVID-19, in partnership with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (Lifeblood).
People who have recovered from COVID-19 will be invited by Lifeblood to donate their plasma, which is high in antibodies – the proteins that fight COVID-19. These antibodies will be purified and concentrated to make COVID-19 Immunoglobulin.
An estimated 800 plasma donations are required to make sufficient COVID-19 Immunoglobulin to treat 50 to 100 people seriously ill with COVID-19 complications within the clinical trial.