UK Government Lifts Ban on Plasma for Fractionation

March 02, 2021

Plasma sourced in the United Kingdom can now be used in the manufacture of immunoglobulins, the U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced on Feb. 25. The decision follows the recommendation from the independent Commission on Human Medicines, which advised that the use of U.K.-sourced plasma to manufacture these treatments is safe and can recommence if supported by a set of robust safety measures. 

The U.K. introduced the ban in 1998 in response to concerns over the spread of Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD). Since then, the U.K. has relied on plasma imported from other countries to manufacture immunoglobulins. According to officials, lifting the ban will bolster the supply chain and improve the self-sufficiency of the U.K. in producing its own treatments. 

Officials at the NHS Blood and Transplant welcomed the decision and announced plans to operationalize the update as soon as possible. The agency will work NHSBT with NHS England and DHSC to appoint a fractionator and supply recovered plasma from whole blood donations to be manufactured into immunoglobulins. Donors in the U.K. will see no change to how blood is collected, and the announcement does not impact on the ongoing collection of convalescent plasma to treat patients with COVID-19.