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Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

In the journal eBioMedicine, University College London researchers propose plasma proteome profiling as a potential strategy for finding individuals at risk of developing long Covid infections. Using a nested case-control approach, the team collected blood samples over time from 156 healthcare workers at hospitals in London, comparing targeted plasma proteome features in 54 SARS-CoV-2-infected, non-hospitalized individuals and 102 SARS-CoV-2-uninfected individuals over time. Based on data spanning 91 targeted plasma proteins, the authors describe proteome shifts that lasted up to six weeks in infected individuals, including changes in the levels of lipid, atherosclerosis, cholesterol metabolism, and other pathways. In addition, they note, the analyses uncovered a proteomic signature present at the time of infection that appeared to show promise for predicting "post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2," commonly known as long Covid, a year after the initial infection. "We show that signature biomarkers at the time of seroconversion for SARS-CoV-2 associates with the persistence of symptoms at 12 months," they report, noting that an iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis protein known as HSCB or HSC20 was the most predictive biomarker detected so far.