One Step Closer to Blood Plasma Self-Sufficiency

One Step Closer to Blood Plasma Self-SufficiencyOne Step Closer to Blood Plasma Self-Sufficiency

The annual capacity of the Iran Blood Transfusion Organization has reached 400,000 liters of plasma production, but there is still a deficit of 200,000 liters in order to reach self-reliance.

In cooperation with the Health Ministry, the organization is set to increase plasma production to meet domestic demand, and has developed plans to achieve the objective, said Ali Akbar Pourfathollah, head of the IBTO, on the eve of the Blood Transfusion International Congress, December 15-17.

Earlier in March, Pourfatollah had stated that the IBTO’s plasma production capacity has crossed 150,000 liters per year.

“The blood from donors is pooled and processed at blood transfusion centers and plasma-derived drugs are manufactured under the supervision of the public health watchdog, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” IRNA quoted him as saying.

Iran is the only developing country in the world which has achieved knowledge in plasma production, he said.

The Health Ministry has approved the move to increase plasma production, and the IBTO has a mandate to produce 200,000 more liters by using the ‘pheresis’ method to eliminate the shortage.  Pheresis is a special type of blood donation during which whole blood is taken from a donor, filtered and separated, and a specific component is removed. The remainder of the blood is then returned to the donor.

 Private Coop.

“Several private companies have expressed their readiness to cooperate in this regard, and we are studying the matter to take further action,” he said.  

At least 600,000 liters of plasma is required to be produced annually to achieve the full domestic demand for factor VIII, an essential blood-clotting protein, also known as anti-hemophilic factor (AHF), which is derived from plasma.

According to the Iranian Hemophilia Society (IHS) at present, 4,386 patients with Hemophilia A suffer from deficiency of factor VIII. Also, 930 patients suffer from Hemophilia B, a disorder caused by a lack of factor IX.

“That’s why we want to increase our plasma production to 600,000 liters,” Pourfatollah stressed.

Factor IX, Albumin, Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) are other plasma-derived products that are already produced in sufficient quantity to meet the full domestic demand.

 Plasma Products

Currently, two-thirds of the plasma-derived medications are produced locally.

“Our aim is to increase plasma-derived medications to 100%.  Domestically-produced drugs are not only cost-effective but are also beneficial to public health,” he said. Replacing imported products with locally produced plasma-derived medication can help prevent the entry of emerging diseases from other countries.”

“Annually, a quarter of the blood products are used in 170 hospitals in Tehran. Iran is ahead of regional countries in blood transfusion and we are now striving to reach the standards of developed nations,” he added.

Topics including patient blood management, peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation and blood transfusion in babies, effective transfusion in surgery, blood transfusion and blood health and urgent transfusion, will be discussed at the conference.