WEST READING, Pa. - Dozens of local COVID-19 patients are helping healthcare providers across the country develop effective treatments for the virus, and others are still needed to participate in the effort.
Tower Health said Tuesday that it has enrolled 40 coronavirus patients, including 36 at its flagship Reading Hospital, in the national "IMmunoPhenotyping Assessment in a COVID-19 Cohort" study, or IMPACC.
The West Reading-based health network is among 10 medical institutions taking part in the study, which is being funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The study's goal, according to researchers, is to help determine how certain immunological measures correspond to, or may even predict, the clinical severity of COVID-19.
The participating patients are enrolled within 48 hours of their hospital admission and then followed by researchers and clinical teams throughout their hospitalization and at subsequent visits over the next 12 months to assess how well they recover and whether they develop durable immunity to the virus.
"We are hopeful that the data collected from the IMPACC study will begin to give us answers as to why the coronavirus affects some patients differently," said Dr. Debra Powell, Tower Health's chief of infectious diseases and medical director of infection prevention. "The information we receive will help us continue to enhance care and treatment for COVID-19 patients."
Tower Health is collaborating with the Drexel University College of Medicine in collecting and analyzing the data.
"Our goal is to identify biomarkers that can predict the severity of symptoms, guide treatment and help us provide every COVID-19 patient the best care possible," said principal investigator Dr. Charles B. Cairns, the Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean of Drexel University's College of Medicine and senior vice president for Medical Affairs. "This clinical study also reflects the extraordinary value of the Drexel - Tower partnership by leveraging our extensive expertise in infectious diseases to advance new insights about the immune responses of COVID-19 patients, including long-term consequences of this devastating disease."
Other participants in the study include the medical schools at the University of California, Stanford University, Mount Sinai, and Baylor University.