A COVID-19 Patient in Hospital Bed

COVID-19: Proteins in patients’ blood could predict severity of illness ─Study

Web Editor | ConsumerConnect

As the global world continues to battle the containment of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic causing socio-economic disruptions, scientists have found 27 key proteins in the blood of people infected with COVID-19, which they say could act as predictive biomarkers for how ill a patient could become with the disease.

In research published in the journal Cell Systems Tuesday, June 2, scientists at Britain’s Francis Crick Institute and Germany’s Charite Universitaetsmedizin Berlin found the proteins are present in different levels in COVID-19 patients, depending on the severity of their symptoms, reports Reuters.

The study revealed that the markers could lead to the development of a test that would help doctors to predict how ill a patient might get when infected with the new SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus.

They could also provide new targets for the development of potential treatments for the disease, it found.

Report says the COVID-19 epidemic has killed more than 374,000 people and infected more than 6.7 million worldwide.

Doctors and scientists say those infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, respond differently – with some developing no symptoms at all, while others need to be hospitalised and others suffer fatal infection.

Christoph Messner, an expert in Molecular Biology at the Crick Institute who co-led the research, said: “A test to help doctors predict whether a COVID-19 patient is likely to become critical or not would be invaluable.”

Messner disclosed that such tests would help doctors to decide how best manage the disease for each patient, as well as identify those most at risk of needing hospital treatment or intensive care.

Messner’s team used a method called mass spectrometry to rapidly test for the presence and quantity of various proteins in blood plasma from 31 COVID-19 patients at Berlin’s Charite hospital.

They then validated their results in 17 other patients with COVID-19 at the same hospital, and in 15 healthy people who acted as controls.

Three of the key proteins identified were linked with interleukin IL-6, a protein known to cause inflammation and also a known marker for severe COVID-19 symptoms, the study found.

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