Sarasota Company Joins Ebola Fight



The spread of Ebola has the attention of health experts around the world focused on West Africa. Now a Sarasota company joins the fight against the spread of the disease. Biolife announced Monday it would send 5,000 WoundSeal applications to health workers treating the disease, and started a drive in hopes of sending an additional 80,000 applications. 

Biolife donated the initial batch of applications to Matthew 25: Ministries, an organization assisting people in South Africa. WoundSeal is a product that treats bleeding by accelerating clotting and forming an instant artificial scab when poured on a wound. This capacity is especially important in fighting the spread of Ebola because the disease spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids including blood. 

"The benefit is it will not only stop the bleeding but will seal those wounds," said Andrew McFall, vice president of marketing for Biolife. "Bandages can cover a wound but they don't really stop the bleeding." After after the artificial scab is created by proteins interacting with the substance, a true scab will form underneath the Woundseal and then come off the patient naturally when the bleeding is no longer a problem.

The outbreak of the disease in Africa has raised stateside concerns, especially after American health workers who contracted the disease had to be flown back to the United States for treatment. The Ebola epidemic to date has killed more than 2,400 in West Africa this year. President Barack Obama this month said the U.S. would have to lead the fight against Ebola, and Biolife said the donation on WoundSeal was answering that call. McFall said Biolife has worked on other projects previously with Matthew 25: Ministries, which is based out of Ohio, and saw the partnership as a good way of getting the product somewhere that it could make a difference. 

“In countries where injury commonly occurs, having an agent available such as WoundSeal can stop bleeding instantly in the field, seal and protect the wound and help prevent re-bleeds through a durable scab that won’t fall off like bandages often do," said Dr. Louis Guzzi, an Orlando critical care physician and the chief medical advisor for Biolife. "WoundSeal will decrease the risk of exposure to contagion for health workers, family and the populace. This is just one of many measures that need to be taken to help staunch the spread of this deadly disease."

Beyond the initial donation of 5,000 applications, the company has set a goal of donating 80,000 additional applications to charity though retail promotions where one retail purchase of WoundSeal four-pack results in a donation of four applications for use in Africa.

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