A NEW study identifies viral RNA as a blood biomarker that may help predict which patients with COVID-19 have the greatest risk of dying.
The team found the biomarker in blood samples collected from people hospitalized with COVID-19 and later confirmed it in two other hospitalized patient groups.
The scientists believe that their discovery could help medical professionals identify patients with the highest mortality risk.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, in December 2019, medical professionals have struggled to identify which groups have the highest risk of mortality.
Early research unveiled some common factors, including median age and underlying chronic conditions. However, much remains unknown.
Now, a new study from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) has found that a blood biomarker of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may help doctors determine which patients are most likely to die from the disease.
The researchers believe that this finding will allow medical professionals to provide treatments faster to patients with the highest risk of mortality.
Earlier research into COVID-19 and its connection to human blood has investigated why the disease causes blood clots, how blood thinners may protect against complications, and how five protein blood biomarkers may predict which patients become critically ill.
The lead author of the new study, Dr. Daniel Kaufmann, a principal scientist at CRCHUM and medical professor at Université de Montréal, spoke with Medical News Today.
He explained that the purpose of this study was to identify a simple, reliable blood marker that could pinpoint patients with the highest risk of fatal illness.
“The course of COVID-19 is extremely variable among patients,” Dr. Kaufmann explained. “From a clinical care perspective, it is important to be able to rapidly identify the persons who are at the highest risk of evolving toward critical disease and death.”