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Biotech company CSL collects less blood plasma from US donors looking for a cure for COVID-19 vaccine

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Australian biotech giant CSL collects less blood plasma from American donors as more people stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the decline should not affect profit for the year.

CEO Paul Perreault said at an investor briefing Thursday that “there is clearly a drop” in the reception of plasma at its donation centers in the United States.

CSL collects plasma to produce treatments for many autoimmune, respiratory and other diseases, and is working on a vaccine against coronaviruses.

However, many Americans have postponed plasma donation due to movement restrictions to slow the spread of the epidemic, which has killed more than 14,000 Americans.

Perreault said that plasma collections have declined since March but “we have the plasma to supply this year”.

“We are still collecting a lot of plasma, it’s just not where we would like to be at the moment,” he said of the amount received.

Donor seats have been separated, among other measures of social distancing.

CSL communicated the measures to donors.

“I expect our donors to come back because they feel safe,” said Mr. Perreault.

The reduction in fundraising is not expected to have an impact on annual financial results, he said.

CSL’s profit range remains from 2.1 billion US dollars to 2.17 billion US dollars (A3.4 billion to A3.48 billion dollars).

Perreault said there were no supply chain issues related to the pandemic as the company had always used many sources to acquire materials.

He said there was no drop in sales due to the vital nature of the products.

“Patients need these products,” he said.

“More than ever, our patients need a continuous supply of drugs.”

An officer on horseback patrols while wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus, in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke) (AP / AAP)

However, working on a coronavirus vaccine and other treatments has had implications for other projects.

Perreault said there would be modest delays for some capital projects and clinical trials.

The Australian government recently asked CSL to step up production of the flu vaccine.

The government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people over the age of 65 to avoid a double coronavirus and flu attack.

Its shares at 1211 AEST were trading 1.43 percent higher at $ 316.40.

In March, CSL replaced Commonwealth Bank as the largest listed company in Australia.

It is one of 27 ASX / 300 companies whose share price increased in value in 2020 in a context of market slowdown.

An ASX electronic billboard is visible during the commemorative event for the 25th anniversary of listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Sydney
An ASX electronic billboard is visible during the commemorative event for the 25th anniversary of listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Sydney (AAP)

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