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Proteins to Predict Course

Researchers have found that a set of blood proteins might be able to gauge whether COVID-19 patients will need intensive care, the Guardian reports.

It adds researchers from Germany and the UK homed in on a set of 27 blood proteins that vary in concentration based on disease severity. Researchers led by Markus Ralser from the Francis Crick Institute and Charité University Medicine examined the plasma proteomes of 139 COVID-19 patients at different points in their disease progression. As they report in a MedRxiv preprint, Ralser and his colleagues in particular note that an early increase in inflammatory response is an important predictor of COVID-19 progression.

The Guardian notes that some COVID-19 patients appear to be fine, but then suddenly take a turn for the worse, a scenario dubbed 'happy hypoxia.'

"It turns out that such patients have an early inflammatory response to the infection, which we can measure in the blood and use to say, 'OK, 40 days down the line, this is your likely outcome,'" Ralser tells it. "Every day counts with severe Covid, and those people who need intensive care need to get it as soon as possible because this greatly increases their chances of survival."

The Guardian adds that the findings still need to be validated.