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UW Health officials are studying how plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can help those who are currently ill, and so far, the results are promising. Thirty-one patients were looked at in the study, Lona Towsley was one of them. She was infected with the virus back in April.

Towsley recalled that at first “as the night went on [she] started having really bad chills.” 

Then it didn’t take long for the symptoms to get worse as she was taken to the ICU shortly after. Towsley was eventually put on a ventilator.

As a two-time cancer survivor, Towsley always knew she was going to beat her cancer, but she wasn’t so sure about COVID-19. She agreed to take part in the UW Health study where she was given plasma from a person who recovered from COVID-19. 

“A day-and-a-half after they gave me the plasma, I was coming off the respirator,” she said.

The trial’s findings suggest early treatment is key.

“Giving them that immune boost is giving them what they need to fight off the infection and get them out of the hospital,” said Dr. William Hartman, the primary investigator of the study.

Dr. Hartman suspects plasma will become a more widely used treatment, but the problem is that “you need people who have recovered from COVID to donate their plasma and get that to patients who need it.”

Towsley is still recovering from her near month-long battle with COVID, but she is grateful for her second chance at life. She wants others to take COVID-19 as seriously as she does.