BioBridge Global assists in groundbreaking research to fight Ebola

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center draws blood of Ebola survivor
January 21, 2015

BioBridge Global (BBG) is helping make history in partnership with XBioTech, an Austin bioscience firm searching for a treatment for Ebola

A team from South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC), which is now part of BBG, drew the blood of Ebola survivor Amber Vinson, a Dallas nurse who was infected with the virus in October while treating a man with the disease last fall. She has since recovered and is no longer contagious.

“We are thrilled to help our partner in this endeavor,” said Dr. Rachel Beddard, BBG medical director. “We have the means to provide raw materials for biomedical research, and we’ve been a partner of this firm for more than four years. We’re proud to be part of research that can make a difference worldwide.”

The draw took place today, Jan. 21, in Austin. An STBTC team drew Vinson’s blood. Samples were transported back to QualTex Laboratories, also a subsidiary of BBG, in San Antonio for routine testing as is done with every blood donation STBTC collects.

“By doing this, Amber has the potential to impact lives globally, from victims of the virus to health care workers to members of our military who are stationed in areas with high incidence of the disease,” Dr. Beddard said.

Dr. Beddard indicated that the research BBG’s partner is conducting is truly unique.

“Other institutions are developing convalescent plasma therapies, which means plasma from Ebola survivors is transfused directly into an Ebola victim. It’s a one-to-one situation,” she said. “What makes this research unique is Vinson is the first to donate whole blood for research. Her blood has the antibody for Ebola and has the potential to be manufactured on a large scale and possibly help treat many more people.

“BioBridge Global is a small piece of something that could be very big, and we’re grateful to have that opportunity,” Dr. Beddard said.

For photos of this exciting event, click here.