The European Union has made available up to 45 million euros ($53 million/£40 million) to increase the collection of plasma from COVID-19 survivors for the treatment of people who contract the disease, a spokesman told Reuters.
The move confirms the EU’s growing confidence in experimental therapies based on so-called convalescent plasma, which is currently used in hospitals for direct transfusions to critically ill patients and is being tested to develop possible medicines against COVID-19.
Money is coming from an emergency fund that the European Union has so far used only for highly sensitive issues throughout the pandemic, including the purchase of another COVID-19 treatment and potential vaccines.
Grants will be distributed to blood collection centres to help them buy new equipment, such as testing kits and machines that separate plasma from blood, the EU spokesman said.
Collection centres run by private companies could also access the funding, an EU official said.
Spain’s Grifols and a corporate alliance led by Japanese drugmaker Takeda have collected convalescent plasma to develop a medicine against COVID-19.