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Scientists find five blood molecules linked to severe Covid-19 outcome in patients

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Researchers at the George Washington University (GW) discovered five biomarkers (medical indicators found in the blood) associated with higher odds of clinical deterioration and death in Covid-19 patients.

The report was published in Future Medicine. According to the report, these findings will help physicians better predict outcomes for Covid-19 patients in the US, Science Daily reported.

Juan Reyes, MD, co-author of the study and assistant professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences said in the report: “When we first started treating Covid-19 patients, we watched them get better or get worse, but we didn’t know why.”

“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 our patients here in the US,” he added.

The team of researchers analyzed 299 patients diagnosed with Covid-19 admitted to GW Hospital between March 12 and May 9. Of these patients, 200 had all five biomarkers being evaluated — IL-6, D-dimer, CRP, LDH, and ferritin.

Elevated levels of these biomarkers were associated with inflammation and bleeding disorder, showing an independent increased risk for ICU admission, invasive 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 was greater than 3 µg/ml.

“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 Shant Ayanian, MD, first author of the study and assistant professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Currently, physicians are evaluating the risk for Covid-19 deterioration and death based on age and certain underlying medical conditions, like having an immunocompromised state, obesity, and heart disease.

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