(QCOSTARICA) In about two weeks, Costa Rica could already have the equine plasma that would be used to treat seriously ill patients with COVID-19.
There are already a thousand packed vials, which have high concentrations of antibodies, relative to the plasma of convalescent patients, currently undergoing testing to determine if they are suitable for treating patients.
This is the quality control phase, which is considered the strictest stage of the process, since each formula is subjected to a series of rigorous analysis that includes a sterility test, which is vital to guarantee that the serum is safe before sending it to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS).
For this, the study is being carried out by the Pharmaceutical Analysis and Advisory Laboratory of the University of Costa Rica, which for more than 15 years has been working with the Ministry of Health in verifying that the medicines marketed in the country meet all the criteria of quality, safety, and efficacy.
“We are running the sterility test for two batches of equine immunoglobulins (the thousand vials). This quality test seeks to demonstrate the safety of the product in terms of verifying the absence of aerobic bacteria, fungi and yeasts. The test is very important because, if a product with some contamination is applied to the patient, it can produce a serious medical condition and endanger her life, “said Jeimy Blanco, coordinator of the Laboratory.
In addition, the vials are being analyzed by the level three biosecurity laboratory at George Mason University in Virginia, US.
If all of the above is satisfactorily completed, in about two weeks the batch would be sent to the Caja to undergo the clinical trial; While this occurs, the CCSS works on the protocol to apply the therapy to seriously ill patients.
“It will be these clinical tests that say that what we have prepared works as a treatment against Covid-19. The formulations comply with the design that we had anticipated, they have a high concentration of antibodies against viral proteins. In fact, they have a concentration considerably higher than that of convalescent patients’ plasma, but only the clinical study will tell if the formulations are effective,” said Guillermo León, coordinator of the Industrial Division of the Clodomiro Picado Institute.
If successful, Costa Rica would be providing treatment to Covid-19, a pandemic that will bring its highest peaks in America in the coming months, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
In addition, it would reduce dependence on convalescent plasma donors. Just to get the thousand bottles that were obtained with the horses, it would have taken about 500 recovered patients.
On the other hand, the treatment could open a business to the country if it produces it in a massive way and markets it.