A series of biomarkers or biological signals associated with white blood cell activation and obesity can now predict severe outcomes in Covid-19 patients, reported the researchers in a study.
The findings have been published in the journal of Blood Advances that indicated that five proteins (resistin, lipocalin-2, HGF, IL-8, and G-CSF) associated with neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, were elevated in the Covid-19 patients who later became critically ill.
The researchers said, other proteins had been previously associated with obesity but not with Covid-19 or other viral illnesses.
A lead author Hyung Chun from the Yale University said, “Patients with high levels of these markers were much more like to require care in the intensive care unit, require ventilation, or die due to their Covid-19.”
Previous laboratory studies had identified possible indicators of severe Coronavirus, including D-dimer levels, a measure of blood coagulation, and levels of proteins known as cytokines, which are released as part of inflammatory responses in the body.
However, until now, no laboratory marker could anticipate which patients with Covid-19 would eventually become critically ill prior to showing clinical signs and symptoms of severe disease.
The blood samples in all cases were collected on the patient’s first day of admission where the researchers analyzed the clinical data for over 3,000 additional patients with Covid-19.
Samples from 100 patients were taken to analyze who would go on to experience different levels of Covid-19 severity, and for which researchers used proteomic profiling which is a screen for multiple proteins within the blood.
It was noted that the elevated neutrophil biomarkers for patients who would go on to experience more serious symptoms and more were evident before those symptoms appeared.
The Covid-19 patients who had neutrophil activation, these biomarkers remained low for patients who never developed the severe illness and these patients were admitted or transferred to the ICU.
However, none of the patients with lower neutrophil biomarker levels died.
Having early knowledge of these indicators could significantly improve patient treatment, the researchers said.