After tightening licensing regulations for the production of antibody test kits, patients’ blood recovered from Covid-19 is becoming a valuable commodity.
One of the ways to find anti-Covid-19 antibodies is to study from the blood of cured patients. However, doctors and scientists are having a hard time accessing this particular blood source.
“Because of the increasing demand, many people have taken advantage of the situation to push its price up very high,” Stefanie Lenart-Dallezotte, business manager of the production company of the antibody test kit Covid-19 Epitope Diagnostics said. will.
Stefanie said that blood brokers offered a price of $ 1,000 per milliliter of convalescent plasma.
Plasma is one of the two main components of blood tissue, the fluid contains invisible components and dissolves a lot of proteins, hormones and other substances. Plasma is pale yellow, liquid and accounts for 55% of blood volume.
Tighten licensing of antibody test kits
Since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tightened regulations on the production of antibody test kits, patients’ blood recovered from Covid-19 has become a particularly valuable commodity.
Specifically, the FDA requires the antibody test kit to be tested on the blood of 70 people who have not been infected with Covid-19 and 30 who have recovered from illness, in order to be licensed for production.
The scarcity of blood in patients who have recovered Covid-19 is partly because the donated blood is usually donated to hospitals or non-profit blood banks such as the Red Cross. They are used to treat patients in critical conditions.
“Blood during infection” usually costs from several dollars to hundreds of dollars per ml. The high or low selling price depends on the rarity of the disease and the logistics process to find the supply of blood.
For example, blood containing antibodies for a tropical disease, found only in a very remote location, will cost much more than the blood of hepatitis C.
Arduous for blood recovery
Blood brokers often buy blood in 2 ways. Some owned blood collection centers, who paid to buy plasma and sell it for a higher price.
Others buy “excess blood” from laboratories. Researchers often do many blood tests and tests, and the remaining blood is often discarded as medical waste.
If someone agrees to buy, they will sell for a fixed price regardless of its rarity, with the aim of saving waste disposal costs.
German supplier Biomex GmbH said the demand for blood from its customers is far beyond supply.
The company collects and processes the plasma of people recovering from Covid-19 disease at donation centers in Heidelberg and Munich. Blood donors will receive approximately 271 USD for 650-850 ml of plasma. The company declined to offer resale prices.
Florida-based Boca Biolistic LLC says the purchasing power of patient samples from Covid-19 is increasing.
The company is selling a set of 10 plasma and 10 negative samples for $ 500. Boca representatives said the company has a program to collect blood samples from patients infected with Covid-19 at different stages, to better understand the change in the concentration of antibodies in the blood.
Blood brokers also face difficulties. For example, Biomex says supply is dwindling as the number of infections in Germany decreases rapidly. In addition, only 1/3 of blood donors have antibody levels high enough to conduct tests.
Mass-based Kephera testing company has found a new way to access this precious blood. They began calling for blood donations from patients and pledged to take only a few small drops from their fingertips to carry out the research process.
“Blood has gradually become a commodity of high value, so there is a war of rights going on recently,” said Andrew Levin, chief scientific officer of Kephera.
Levin said the brokers took $ 1,000 each for a blood sample during the pandemic, currently down to $ 100-300.