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Blood tests can predict the severity of COVID-19: a study


Washington: Doctors examine blood in COVID-19 patients to identify patients at highest risk of severe disease and to identify those most likely to need ventilator, researchers say, including Indians can do.

The study could lead to new treatments to prevent the deadly “cytokine storm” seen in severe cases of COVID-19, the researchers said.

They may also help explain why diabetes contributes to worse outcomes in patients with coronaviruses, they said.

Scientists, including Mayuresh Abhyankar from the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine in the United States, have found that levels of certain cytokines in the blood after diagnosis can be used to predict later outcomes.

Cytokines-proteins produced by immune cells-are responsible for the severe overreaction by the immune system known as the cytokine storm associated with COVID-19 and other serious illnesses, the researchers say ..

They said the findings could flag physicians with high-risk COVID-19 patients and become part of a scoring system for closer monitoring and personalized intervention.

The findings also identify cytokines that physicians can target as new therapeutic approaches, according to findings shared on the preprint server medRxiv.org.

The team finally identified 57 COVID-19 patients treated with UVA that required ventilation.

The researchers then tested blood samples taken from patients within 48 hours of diagnosis or hospitalization.

They compared the results with those from patients in need of mechanical ventilation.

Researchers say additional research is needed to determine how cytokines contribute to the COVID-19 results.

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