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BioBridge Global assists in groundbreaking research to fight Ebola
January 23, 2015

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center phlebotomist Melodie Montgomery (l) with Ebola survivor Amber Vinson. (Photo Courtesy BioBridge Global)

SAN ANTONIO - BioBridge Global (BBG) is helping make history 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.

About BioBridge Global: BioBridge Global (BBG) is a San Antonio-based nonprofit organization that offers diverse services in regenerative medicine, blood banking and biologic testing. Its subsidiaries - the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, QualTex Laboratories and GenCure - provide products and services including blood collection, cellular therapy, umbilical cord blood and tissue services as well as testing of blood, plasma and tissue products for clients in the United States and worldwide. BBG is an outgrowth of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, which has a proud history of serving the South Texas region and beyond for more than 40 years. BBG is committed to supporting groundbreaking research, addressing unmet clinical needs and enabling the development and commercialization of novel biotechnology products. Visit us at biobridgeglobal.org.

 

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