covid-19

COVID-19 FAQ from GBS|CIDP & Variant Community

Informing our GBS|CIDP Foundation community is our top priority.  This week we have received a number of questions regarding COVID-19 through email, phone calls, and our social media channels.  Two of the primary concerns are addressed below. The answers are provided by the GBS|CIDP Foundation International Global Medical Advisory Board. As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 outbreak, the Foundation is committed to providing information, answers to your questions, and updates at they are made available. 


Are you more at-risk for COVID-19 if you have previously had GBS?

Having GBS in the past does not put you at an increased risk for COVID-19 unless you have other underlying issues. As with all people, you should practice strict social distancing and abide by the current CDC guidelines.

As an MMN or CIDP patient, am I at a greater risk for developing COVID-19?

No, however, if you take any immunosuppressive drugs, you would be at greater risk. This could include but is not limited to drugs such as; Imuran or asithyropan, Rituxin or rituximab, Celcept or microphenalate or cyclosporin. Patients taking corticosteroids are particularly at risk. Taking IVIG alone will not predispose patients to higher risk.

The Global Medical Advisory Board emphasizes strict adherence to the CDC guidelines and those of local or state governments.

Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) – March 19th

Dear GBS|CIDP Community,

Lisa Butler, Executive Director
Lisa Butler

We know that this is a challenging time for everyone as the news of the pandemic is evolving each day. Please know we are here for you and the GBS|CIDP Foundation International is committed to addressing your concerns as accurately and efficiently as possible. A number of our members have reached out with regard to safety and availability of CIDP treatments.  Therefore, we have connected with our pharmaceutical partners that manufacture and distribute CIDP medicines. Each company quickly responded to our request with an update on how they are managing the COVID-19 situation. We share with you their statements below, and we will continue to provide information that is relevant to our community as it is made available in upcoming days and weeks. You will find all current COVID-19 updates from the Foundation at gbs-cidp.org/covid19 

Wishing good health & wellness to all,
Lisa Butler, Executive Director
GBS|CIDP Foundation International


CSL

CSL Behring recommends the use of its products only as directed in the approved product labeling. The following information should not be construed as a comprehensive collection of all available clinical/published data regarding this topic. 

The company has taken steps to protect patients, to prevent disruption to the supply of our products, and to protect our employees around the world. We have activated our business continuity plan and are closely monitoring and managing as the situation develops.

CSL Behring does source material used in the manufacturing process from areas affected by the coronavirus however, our robust supply lines ensure that these critical supplies are not single source. Therefore, CSL at this time does not expect any negative impact on our ability to supply product globally as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. 

The SARS-CoV-2 (viral strain causing COVID-2019) is a large sized virus (approximately 120 nm in diameter). The relatively large size and lipid envelope makes it highly susceptible to steps with virus inactivation and removal capacity used during the manufacturing processes, such as pasteurization, solvent-detergent (S/D), low pH incubation, dry-heat treatment, and virus filtration. The effectiveness of these processes has been demonstrated on other coronavirus lipid-enveloped model viruses which are quite similar to 2019-nCoV, e.g. SARS-CoV, human coronavirus 229E and OC43, and porcine coronavirus TGEV. 

Based on these data, we can be assured that existing manufacturing processes will provide significant safety margins for our plasma products against the SARS-CoV-2. 

GRIFOLS

As the situation with the novel coronavirus rapidly evolves, we wanted to inform you that Grifols is taking measures in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) to help ensure the safety of our employees, donors, products, and the patient communities we serve. We have also made our expertise in plasma available to health authorities since the outbreak began. 

Aware that our products and services are important to patients and healthcare providers around the world, we can confirm at this moment there are currently no supply delays or interruptions as a result of the novel coronavirus. 

Every single donation at Grifols goes through exhaustive analyses to ensure it meets our strict requirements. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are implementing additional protocols in our donor centers to ensure donor eligibility. Furthermore, our plasma product manufacturing process contains dedicated steps for viral inactivation that ensure high safety margins against this type of virus. 

Grifols has deep expertise and technology in the use of virally inactivated convalescent plasma – plasma obtained from recovering patients – to develop potential anti-viral immunoglobulin treatments. This expertise has already been shared with our partner-to-be in China, Shanghai and the Chinese public health system. We are also making it available to other international public health authorities. At the same time, Grifols is accelerating the development of screening and testing methods for the detection of the novel coronavirus. 

Grifols is closely monitoring developments. We will continue to take actions, in consultation with advice from the WHO and associated government agencies, to protect our employees, ensure our medicines and products reach those who need them, and do what we can to help combat the coronavirus. 

For additional information, please see the statement from the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA).

TAKEDA

Statement concerning the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on supply for patients receiving 

Takeda plasma derived therapies. Takeda does not anticipate any impact to plasma collection and third-party plasma sourcing at this time. We continue to monitor the situation and, so far, have seen no drop-off in plasma donation. Our collection centers are predominantly in the US, as well as in Czechia, Hungary and Austria. Nor do we anticipate any impact to continuity of planned supply of our plasma-derived therapies. We continue to monitor the situation and have formed critical event response teams who are working on contingency planning across our business, including collection, laboratory, manufacturing and delivery.

Regarding safety, in view of the strict screening procedures in place for plasma donors and the established processes for viral inactivation and removal during manufacturing of plasma-derived therapies, Takeda does not expect that the SARS-CoV-2 is a concern for the safety margins of our plasma-derived therapies. The industry view from the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association and additional background information is available via their website.

As a precaution, we have made arrangements for notices to be posted in all our plasma collection centers worldwide and for questions on potential exposure risk to be included in the medical examination. In addition, we have provided guidance to our centers on the steps to be taken in the event that there is deemed to be a risk. This guidance aligns with all national requirements. Additionally, this week Takeda announced that we are initiating the development of a plasma-derived therapy for COVID-19 which we are calling TAK888. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-IG) is being developed to treat high-risk individuals with COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

Both plasma sourcing for, and production of, TAK888 will be separate from our existing plasma collection and manufacturing given the unique nature and intended therapeutic use of this therapy; therefore, we do not anticipate directly affecting planned supply of our existing immune globulins. 

NHC Webinar – Coronavirus Preparedness for People with Chronic Diseases Webinar

COVID-19 is causing significant concerns globally. Watch a recording of this March 13 Webinar produced by the National Health Council, for patients with chronic diseases. The webinar discusses how patients can best avoid the illness, and what to do if they feel sick.

Watch Webinar here or visit NHC website for more information.

A Statement from Executive Director, Lisa Butler, with regard to COVID-19 and Planning Ahead

We are all in this together, and the GBS|CIDP Foundation International will make every effort to keep our community informed and updated. As we all navigate our way through the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important for the health of ourselves, families, and communities, to not only abide by best practices for prevention of the spread of the virus but to also try and manage our emotions and stress response as much as possible. Thinking clearly, acting calmly, and following the advice of reliable health and wellness experts will guide us through the days and weeks ahead, and inspire others to do the same. Being supportive to relatives, friends and neighbors is something this community does well every single day, and we need to rely on our Foundational pillar of support now more than ever.

Please be assured that we take this public issue seriously but this doesn’t mean we will shut down. As we transition to more virtual or digital programming, we are still here for your phone calls and emails. COVID-19 doesn’t mean our community is no longer dealing with GBS, CIDP or variants, we are still here for you through this pandemic and will continue to provide updates through email, social media and on our website. As we adapt to this pandemic, we are postponing ALL IN-PERSON events as of today through May 15, 2020. COVID 19does NOT cancel us, we will just look forward to seeing you at a later date. Check the website for continued updates.

For more information please see the National Health Council’s March 13 Webinar on Coronavirus Preparedness for People with Chronic Diseases:

WATCH: Coronavirus Preparedness for People with Chronic Diseases Webinar: COVID-19 is causing significant concerns globally. Watch the recording of our webinar from Friday, March 13 here. The speakers discussed the ways patient groups can assist their members and other constituents in reducing the impact of COVID-19, such as how patients with chronic diseases can avoid the illness, what to do if they feel sick, and how patient groups can prepare to field inquiries from their members. Watch it here and visit NHC website for more information. Also in light of the pandemic, here is a link to a video of Italians sharing what they would tell themselves 10 days ago.

Please also take a moment to view: Managing Stress & Anxiety and advice from Dr. Julie Rowin regarding an easy and accessible way to manage stress during challenging times. 

In good health,

Lisa Butler
Executive Director
GBS|CIDP Foundation International

Resource from PPTA Regarding COVID-19

The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) has provided a statement specific to plasma protein therapies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. CLICK HERE to read the statement.

The PPTA notes that their Pathogen Safety Steering Committee continues to monitor the situation and is currently working on a broader update for the community. We will share these updates with you.

If you have any other questions regarding plasma supply and COVID-19, please email info@gbs-cidp.org.