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Blood tests may be an early indicator of COVID-19 severity: studies

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Toronto, OntarioCTV news) —A new study shows that blood tests can be the key to understanding what doctors expect when treating patients with COVID-19.

Often, when COVID-19 patients are admitted to the hospital, how severe their illness will be, whether they need ventilation, whether their stay will be days or weeks, or There is no clear indicator of whether they will cure it alive. The new test aims to answer these questions when the patient arrives at the hospital.

The study, published at Blood Advances on Friday, found that certain elevated “biomarkers” that are indicators of the disease could predict the severity of the disease, but researchers say more research is needed. ..

The biomarkers examined by researchers are called neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that fights infections, and may be associated with inflammatory diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

“Patients with high levels of these markers were much more likely to need care in the intensive care unit, need ventilation, or die from COVID-19,” said the lead research author. Dr. Hyunjun, a professor at Yale University, said in a press release.

Previous studies attempting to identify markers of COVID-19 severity examined different levels of biomarkers that indicate levels of blood clotting and inflammation.

The study screened multiple proteins in the blood of 100 COVID-19 patients and examined clinical data from 3,000 patients in the Yale University hospital system.

The findings show that five proteins associated with neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that fights infection, were elevated in patients with COVID-19 who later became severely ill. Neutrophils are usually associated with obesity and inflammatory diseases. This is the first time it has been associated with COVID-19 and other viruses.

Researchers found that patients had elevated neutrophil levels before the onset of severe symptoms.

“Inflammation sets the stage for ARDS, acute respiratory distress syndrome. Any condition that increases inflammation will increase the risk,” said Dr. Iris Goffinkel, a Toronto physician and clinical researcher. CTVNews.ca In a telephone interview on Saturday.

According to Goffinkel, activities that help reduce inflammation in the body can benefit COVID-19 results, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, getting proper sleep, and regular exercise.

All patients in the study with elevated neutrophil markers were admitted to the ICU, but those with decreased neutrophil markers did not die and those with decreased markers did not die.

“If you can order diagnostic tests early, you will have a better understanding of who is likely to become seriously ill and will benefit from a higher level of care and consideration for treatments that affect the immune system early in hospitalization. You can, “Chun said in a press release.

Although this study is a great “starting point” and can save lives by knowing the severity of the disease before it develops, Gorfinkel is an independent marker of neutrophils with COVID-19 severity. He said further research is needed to determine if.

“We need a way to predict who will go to the hospital,” she said.

The researchers said they plan to extend the study to the relationship between biomarkers and COVID-19 by examining patients who have recovered from acute illness.

The study also emphasizes the relationship between COVID-19 and obesity, the researchers said. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that obesity and severe obesity increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and triple the risk of hospitalization for illness.

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