Biomarkers help: US study, Karnataka is already using them

Blood tests of Covid patients can help detect more critical cases earlier on to prevent their condition from worsening.

Published: 12th August 2020 06:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2020 06:23 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Blood tests of Covid patients can help detect more critical cases earlier on to prevent their condition from worsening.Researchers from the George Washington University (GW) have found five biomarkers associated with higher odds of clinical deterioration and death among Covid patients. Experts in Bengaluru said that these biomarkers are already part of the treatment protocol in state and country.The study, published in Future Medicine, said the findings will help physicians predict better.   

“When we started treating Covid patients, we watched them get better or get worse, but we didn’t know why,” said Juan Reyes, MD, co-author of the study and assistant professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “Some initial studies had come out of China showing certain biomarkers were associated with bad outcomes. There was a desire to see if that was true for patients in the US.”

The research team evaluated 299 Covid patients. Of them, 200 had all five biomarkers being evaluated — IL-6, D-dimer, CRP, LDH and ferritin. Elevated levels of these markers were associated with inflammation and bleeding disorder, showing an increased risk for ICU admission, ventilatory support and death. The highest odds of death occurred when the LDH level was greater than 1200 units/l and a D-dimer level higher than mg/ml.

Dr Pradeep Rangappa, national vice-president, Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, and part of the state’s Covid expert committee, said all intensivists at district hospitals have been given these biomarkers. “Earlier, physicians determined risk for Covid deterioration and death based on age and underlying medical conditions, like immunocompromised state, obesity and heart disease. We then took the Chinese study published in Lancet and now follow serial trends,” he said.

Based on a person’s blood report, intensivists look for these biomarker levels. “We also look at D Dimers which show the risk of clot formations in the blood vessels leading to heart attacks or vein thrombosis or strokes. We then treat such patients with blood thinners. Also, IL6 indicates cytokine storms,” he said.


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