Tower Hospitals Join COVID-19 Plasma Research

WEST READING PA – Research being conducted by the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic, into the use of hopefully antibody-rich blood plasma to help severely ill patients recover from coronavirus infections, can now rely in part from data being provided by Tower Health hospitals including those in Pottstown and Phoenixville.

Injecting “convalescent plasma” from the blood of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 into the bloodstreams of those still acutely infected, as a potential treatment for battling the disease, is among major areas of research being conducted by the clinic and for which Tower announced Wednesday (April 22, 2020) it would begin supplying information.

Tower joined the Mayo investigation by registering to participate in its “Expanded Access Program.”

The vast majority of those made ill by the virus return to full health within a week or two, Tower explained. Because a growing number of local residents have recovered from the disease, their blood may contain antibodies developed to fight the virus.

Those who were documented as confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, and can since demonstrate their recovery, may be eligible to donate plasma to treat hospitalized patients. They’re being asked to consider registering an giving plasma, a process said to be as easy as giving blood itself, to register with either the Miller-Keystone Blood Center or the American Red Cross.

“Donated plasma will stay in our area and (be) distributed to patients in need,” according to Dr. Debra Powell, Tower’s section chief of infectious disease at Reading Hospital.

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