Plasma Products Safe Despite Swine Influenza Outbreak, Assures International Biopharmaceutical Company Octapharma

    - Company Working With Authorities to Ensure Adequate Supply of Virally
    Inactivated Plasma Derivatives

    LACHEN, Switzerland, May 1 /CNW/ - The impending influenza pandemic will
have implications for global stocks of life-saving blood and blood products,
warns Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical company, Octapharma.
    But it has reiterated the safety of its plasma derivatives and is working
closely with health authorities and plasma suppliers to maintain the safety
profile and continuous supply of its lifesaving products.
    The threat to blood supplies arises as blood transfusion authorities
across the globe remind blood donors to stay away if they have 'flu-like
symptoms. In Germany, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, which tests blood products
on behalf of the German federal health ministry, has recommended against using
blood donated by people who have travelled to countries affected by the swine
influenza outbreak or who have been in close contact with people who have
'flu-like symptoms or were in 'flu-affected countries in the previous 14 days.
    Octapharma makes plasma derivatives used in a range of medical
emergencies. The new swine H1N1 virus, with its epicentre in Mexico, does not
endanger the safety of Octapharma's products. Octaplas(R), is a virally
inactivated pooled plasma, which can be used in emergency situations whenever
plasma transfusion is required.
    Currently, Octapharma has sufficient supplies of Octaplas(R) to satisfy
usual client demand. Production can be increased by up to 30 percent if demand
increases. Octapharma already provides 100 per cent of plasma needs with
Octaplas(R) for transfusion in Norway, Finland and Portugal.
    During the manufacture of Octaplas(R), the product undergoes a
solvent-detergent treatment that destroys the lipid enveloped membrane of a
virus, making it inactive and unable to infect.
    All influenza viruses are lipid enveloped viruses and not very resistant
to inactivation. The H1N1 virus is completely inactivated by the procedures
used in the manufacture of Octaplas(R) and other blood-derived
biopharmaceutical products.

    Notes for editors


    The Octapharma Group is an independent, Swiss-based biopharmaceutical
company operating worldwide. Octapharma's core business is the development,
production, and sale of high-quality human proteins for the treatment of
life-threatening diseases. The Group has more than 3,000 employees in 28
countries, and owns five modern, state-of-the-art production facilities in
Austria, France, Germany, Sweden, and Mexico, respectively.
    Octapharma's company mission is to provide safe and effective
biopharmaceutical products derived from human blood plasma to patients in need
of lifesaving therapy.
    For more information about the company please visit c
    (Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste
this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the
space if one exists.)

For further information:

For further information: Marc Maltas, International Business Unit
Manager, Intensive Care & Emergency Medicine, Octapharma AG, Tel.

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