Several biomarkers found in blood tests performed on coronavirus patients can allow doctors to detect the more critical cases and help them prevent those infected from getting worse, according to a new study.
Researchers at George Washington University said in the study published in Future Medicine that five biomarkers were linked to greater chances of deterioration and possible death from the illness, Fox News reported.
“This study has identified these five biomarkers as having an association with bad outcomes and not causation in a US cohort,” study authors Drs. Juan Reyes and Shant Ayanian told the news outlet in a statement.
The authors said they decided to embark on the research after early findings in China showed biomarkers associated with poor outcomes in patients stricken by the deadly bug.
The scientists studied the blood of 299 people who tested positive for COVID-19 and then analyzed five biomarkers present in their blood, according to the release, cited by Fox News.
Of the total, 200 patients had all five biomarkers analyzed, including CRP, D-dimer, IL-6, LDH and ferritin, the network reported.
A patient is treated with a helmet-based ventilator in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center.Getty Images
Higher levels of the biomarkers were linked with bleeding disorders and inflammation that showed an increased risk for admission into intensive care units, ventilation support and death, the report said.
The greatest risk of death occurred when the D-dimer level was greater than 3 μg/ml and the LDH was higher than 1200 units/l, the authors said.
“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 Ayanian, an assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Doctors have so far been gauging the severity of the disease progression based on age and pre-existing medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and a compromised immune system, the authors noted.
But a simple blood test could help guide patients’ treatment, they added.
“In light of the current challenges faced by the pandemic, especially for institutions dealing with an overwhelming number of patients being hospitalized, this study could be useful for clinicians in order to identify sicker patients and aid resource utilization,” the authors told Fox News.