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Scientists identify five blood molecules linked to severe COVID-19 outcome in patients

WASHINGTON: Scientists have found five medical indicators in the blood of COVID-19 patients which are associated with higher odds of death due to the disease, findings that can help physicians better predict clinical outcomes of those infected with the novel coronavirus.

The study, published in the journal Future Medicine, evaluated 299 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 admitted to the George Washington University (GW) Hospital between March 12 and May 9, 2020.

It revealed that 200 of the patients had all five biomarker molecules being evaluated -- IL-6, D-dimer, CRP, LDH and ferritin.

According to the researchers, including those from GW, elevated levels of these biomarkers were associated with inflammation and bleeding disorder, showing an independent increased risk for admission in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), invasive ventilatory support, and death.

They said the highest odds of death occurred when levels of the molecule LDH was greater than 1200 units per litre, and the D-dimer level was greater than three microgrammes per millilitre.

"Laboratory markers of inflammation and coagulopathy can help clinicians identify patients who are at high risk for clinical deterioration in COVID-19," the scientists concluded in the study.

"We hope these biomarkers help physicians determine how aggressively they need to treat patients, whether a patient should be discharged, and how to monitor patients who are going home, among other clinical decisions," said Shant Ayanian, first author of the study from the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Currently, the scientists said doctors determine risk for COVID-19 deterioration and death based on age and certain underlying medical conditions, like having a compromised immune system, obesity, and heart disease.

They said performing a simple blood test for patients admitted to the ICU, and also making decisions based on the biomarkers present, may further aid point-of-care clinical decision making.

 

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