COVID-19 is affecting every aspect of our lives – how we live, how we work, how we relate to one another. Moments like this can make us feel disempowered, especially when so many of us are physically separated from the loved ones who bring meaning to our lives. But it is these moments that shape us. They draw into focus the disparities between the world as it is and the world we want. They define who we are as a human family.
As business, non-profit and community leaders, we understand that this has not impacted all of us equally. This disease has disproportionately impacted people of color, not least of all because African Americans and other communities of color make up a high percentage of front-line workers in healthcare and other essential organizations. Many across America are bearing an unequal burden that is not unique to COVID-19, as recent demonstrations across the country have brought into sharp relief.
One action that you can take right now is to help COVID-19 survivors help others. If you or someone you know has recently recovered from COVID-19, a plasma donation can help those who are currently sick with the disease as well as aid in the development of potentially life-saving treatments. A coalition of more than 30 organizations has come together to create a national donor recruitment campaign – The Fight Is In Us – with the goal of connecting survivors with licensed blood and plasma donor centers. A simple online tool helps potential donors learn where to go and arrange free transportation to make it easy and convenient to share the antibodies that helped fight off infection. The Fight Is In Us was formed around a core set of principles to maximize the individual and societal benefit of convalescent plasma:
- Engagement - We are committed to empowering all our members and the public to build trust and inspire us all to come together to ensure that survivors donate, collection capacity is maximized, and distribution is optimized.
- Evidence – Science must be the foundation for addressing the pandemic, and we are committed to letting science be our guide in making non-partisan decisions about convalescent plasma for transfusion and (when available) hyperimmune globulin.
- Equity – Ensuring equity in the development of and access to affordable, safe, and effective treatments for COVID-19 isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the most effective way to protect those whose lives are most at risk and to treat those who develop disease. We are committed to ensuring that convalescent plasma preventative interventions and disease therapies are prioritized for those who will benefit from them most and ensuring that the best treatments are available in the near and longer term.
This is a united effort bringing together several coalitions and organizations, including academic medical institutions (the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program led by Mayo Clinic and including Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis); plasma companies (Grifols and the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance, including those announced at its inception—Biotest, BPL, CSL Behring, LFB, Octapharma, and Takeda—and new members ADMA Biologics, BioPharma Plasma, GC Pharma, Liminal BioSciences, and Sanquin); national blood organizations (including AABB, American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, and Blood Centers of America); health benefits company Anthem Inc.; health care diagnostics company LabCorp; community and non-profit leaders including Stop the Spread, PlasmaSaves.org, and XPRIZE; marketing and media contributions from supporters including the CSL Behring, Grifols, and Takeda; and the National Basketball Association.
"The Fight Is In Us" is also supported by advisory and technology supporters. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lasker Foundation are providing advisory support. Microsoft is providing technology support for the recruitment website and self-qualification tool. The website and tool are hosted by The MITRE Corporation. MITRE is appreciative of the Microsoft AI for Health program for their support in MITRE’s hosting of the recruitment website and self-qualification tool in the Azure cloud. Uber Health is providing free, roundtrip Uber rides to and from the donor centers for those who are eligible to donate. Ashfield Healthcare is providing contact center service to support COVID-19 survivors.