Kedrion Biopharma reaffirms its commitment to maternal and fetal health. After dedicating 2018 to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Anti-D Immunoglobulins for the prevention of Rh sensitization, in 2019 our company is one of the primary supporters of the WIRhE (the Worldwide Initiative for Rh Disease Eradication), a new NON-PROFIT organization established in New York under the auspices of Columbia University with the goal of eradicating Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and the Newborn (HDFN, also called Rh disease) worldwide.
The official launch of the WIRhE took place on Saturday, September 28, at the Istituto degli Innocenti, in Florence, Italy, on the occasion of the Second Annual International Symposium for the Eradication of HDFN.
A growing network of researchers, doctors and NGO members from many countries joined this new alliance together with: in addition to Columbia University, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto, the major Italian companies in the industry and numerous opinion leaders from countries where the problem is still very prevalent (Nigeria, the Russian Federation, China, the United States, Pakistan and Ghana) have also given their support.
Even now, every year, one hundred and fifty thousand fetuses and newborns die as a result of a mismatch of blood types between a pregnant woman (Rh negative) and her developing fetus (Rh positive), which is absolutely preventable and, in fact, has almost completely disappeared in developed countries thanks to a prophylaxis that was developed over half a century ago.
Although this prophylaxis is on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines, many countries lack adequate supply flows, sufficiently trained health personnel, medical education, clinical training and other essential resources for implementing these protocols. This explains why less than half of all women at risk has access to the prophylaxis, particularly in middle and low-income countries.
Kedrion's ultimate goal for the present and the future is to work with clinicians, governments and non-profit organizations to bring Anti-D prophilaxis to all women in need.
And the future began in Florence, Italy, which we are particularly proud of.
"When we began our commitment in this field, we had no idea how far it would take us," said Paolo Marcucci, President and CEO of Kedrion. "In a few years national and international entities and institutions, doctors, governments, hospitals and NGOs joined to work together. And the fact that commitment to this global alliance for the eradication of Rh disease is being reaffirmed today here in Italy makes us even more proud of this inspiring project, which has an Italian soul".
During the event in Florence, Professor Giuseppe Remuzzi, Director of Milan’s Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research (IRCCS), delivered the 4th John Gorman Lecture. The international lectureship in Transfusion Medicine, named after Dr. John Gorman – one of a pioneers of Anti-D prophylaxis – has been funded in perpetuity by Kedrion Biopharma.