CERS stock is moving in pre-market on July 7, 2020, after the company announced a successful test at deactivating SARS-COV-2.
Cerus Corporation (Nasdaq:CERS) announced today study results demonstrating that the INTERCEPT Blood System inactivates SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent for COVID-19, in plasma components intended for transfusion. These data are consistent with prior INTERCEPT studies showing complete inactivation, to below the limit of detection, of other coronaviruses associated with severe pulmonary disease: MERS-CoV1,2 (2018, 2019) and SARS-CoV-13 (2005).
The in vitro study evaluated inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 in plasma components using both infection and molecular assays, as well as cell culture passaging experiments, allowing the confirmation of complete inactivation over time. Under the Principal Investigators Prof. Esam Ibraheem Azhar (Special Infectious Agents Unit – BSL3, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) and Prof. Salwa Hindawi (Department of Hematology, Faculty of Medicine), the study was conducted at the Special Infectious Agents Unit – BSL3, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a local clinical SARS-CoV-2 isolate. This center is known for its expertise in coronavirus research. A manuscript for publication is currently in preparation. The investigators are currently conducting a subsequent study to assess the ability of the INTERCEPT Blood System to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in platelet components. These studies are funded by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health and supported by Cerus.
“Given the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, these study results are significant in showing efficacy against a highly pathogenic coronavirus,” said Dr. Richard Benjamin, Cerus’ chief medical officer. “While no transfusion transmitted SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported to date, viral RNA has been observed in the plasma of some patients; and the inactivation data from this study indicate that the INTERCEPT Blood System could reduce the potential risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by transfusion of convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.”
Separately, Cerus is conducting a set of in vitro studies in the United States to assess the INTERCEPT Blood System’s ability to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in red blood cells, as well as platelets and plasma. These studies are funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) as part of Cerus’ recent contract amendment and associated funding increase.
BARDA is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The development of the INTERCEPT red blood cell program has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, under Contract No. HHSO100201600009C.
The INTERCEPT Blood Systems for platelets, plasma, and red cells plasma are proactive interventions designed to inactivate a broad spectrum of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and contaminating donor leukocytes in plasma components to reduce the risk of transfusion transmitted infections especially in pandemics of emerging pathogens before donor testing is available.
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