Lehigh Valley hospitals participate in Mayo Clinic plasma program, seek donors

Written by on May 26, 2020

Lehigh Valley hospitals participate in Mayo Clinic plasma program, seek donors

By K.C. Lopez

May 25, 2020

Blood centers across the Lehigh Valley are calling on recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma.

As WLVR’s KC Lopez reports, it’s part of an experimental regimen for some of the most serious COVID-19 patients.

People who recover from coronavirus carry antibodies in their plasma. One of the largest national studies on using that blood product as a treatment is being administered by the Mayo Clinic, with test sites in the Lehigh Valley.

Dr. Micheal Joyner leads the program. 

“What we hope to do is use this product in a variety of patients in the hospital setting; ranging from people who are at risk of developing severe illness to those who are already in the ICU, and then begin to understand how this impacts their outcomes,” said Joyner.  

Several Lehigh Valley Health Network sites, St. Luke’s Warren campus, and some hospitals in Berks County are participating in the “Expanded Access Program.”

Dr. Kip Kuttner is the Medical Director at Miller-Keystone Blood Center in Bethlehem.

“It’s not approved by the FDA but it’s something that we have in our armetariam to try. And anecdotally, it seems to work in approximately 30% of cases.”

Miller-Keystone Blood Center says because of recent donations, their convalescent plasma inventory is stable, but is always in need for traditional blood donations across sites in Bethlehem, Easton and Allentown.


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