A new study says blood tests may be key for doctors to get an idea of what to expect when treating COVID-19 patients.
When a COVID-19 patient is hospitalized, there is often no clear indicator of how severe their illness can get if they need ventilator when they stay for days or weeks. or if they find out alive. A new test should answer these questions as soon as the patients arrive at the hospital.
The study, published Friday in Blood Advances, found that certain elevated “biomarkers” indicative of disease could predict disease? Severity, but researchers say more study is needed.
The biomarkers studied are known as neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that fights infection and has been linked to inflammatory diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
“Patients with high levels of these markers required much more intensive care, ventilator ventilation, or died from COVID-19,” said lead study author and Yale Professor Dr. Hyung Chun in a press release.
Previous studies identifying severity markers for COVID-19 had looked at various levels of biomarkers that indicate levels of blood clotting and inflammation.
The study looked at multiple proteins in the blood of 100 COVID-19 patients and examined clinical data from 3,000 patients in the Yale hospital system.
The results show that five proteins associated with neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that fight infection, were elevated in patients with COVID-19 who later became critically ill, the study says. Neutrophils are usually linked to obesity and inflammatory diseases. This is the first time they have been linked to COVID-19 or other viruses.
Inflammation sets the stage for ARDS, acute respiratory distress syndrome. Any condition that increases inflammation increases your risk. Toronto-based doctor and clinical researcher Dr. Iris Gorfinkel told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Saturday.
Activities to promote the reduction of inflammation in the body will have a positive impact on COVID-19 outcomes, including weight loss, smoking cessation, adequate sleep and regular exercise, Gorfinkel said.
All patients in the study who had elevated neutrophil markers ended up in intensive care, while those with low neutrophil markers did not – and none of the patients with lower markers died.
“If a diagnostic test could be ordered early, it could give us a better sense of who is more likely to get seriously ill and benefit from greater care and consideration of therapies that compromise the immune system early in their hospitalization.” “Chun said in the press release.
While this study is a great “jumping off point”, Gorfinkel knew that disease severity before it occurs could save lives, and more research needs to be done to see if neutrophils are independent markers of COVID-19 severity.
“We need a way to predict who will end up in the hospital,” she said.
The researchers noted that they plan to expand their study to the relationship between biomarkers and COVID-19 by examining patients who have recovered from acute illness.
The study also highlights the link between COVID-19 and obesity, researchers said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that obesity and severe obesity increase the risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19 and triple the risk of hospitalization for the disease.
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