Covington pharmaceutical company working on COVID-19 treatment

Researchers in Covington and at other large pharmaceutical companies, that are typically competitors, are setting aside their differences to form an alliance against COVID-19 to come up with a coronavirus treatment.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which is headquartered in Japan, and employs nearly 1,100 employees at its Newton County lab, is inching toward clinical trials for plasma therapy that could help the most vulnerable coronavirus patients.

They’re asking coronavirus survivors to donate their plasma, which is a liquid found in blood, as it could be a key ingredient for a medicine that would treat those with serious complications from the disease.

This is called hyperimmune globulin therapy.

"That plasma has been transferred to our location," Takeda Vice President of manufacturing told FOX 5's Alex Whittler.

Soto said clinical trials of this treatment, which is known as the CoVIg-19 therapy, are set to start by the end of the summer.

"[the trials] will allow us to determine the number of antibodies needed for each patient for recovery," he said.

Soto said this is not a vaccine, as a vaccine puts some of the virus into the body so it can create antibodies to fight of the disease.

In this instance, the antibodies already exist in the donated plasma. No small amounts of the virus are injected into a patient.

Clinical trial participants will be selected by participating sites. Takeda representatives say full eligibility criteria will be posted later, but patients who were severely impacted by the virus at participating sites but weren’t placed on a ventilator are ideal volunteers.

If successful—the medicine could strengthen a patient’s immune system to fight the coronavirus.

The idea, Soto said, is to use antibodies from coronavirus survivors’ plasma to create a treatment, hence the push for more donations from those who’ve beaten the disease.

To donate plasma, click here.