New Test Helps Identify COVID-19 Patients at Risk for Severe Illness

by Colleen Fleiss on Sep 11 2020 1:48 AM

New Test Helps Identify COVID-19 Patients at Risk for Severe Illness
A new test for SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins developed by researchers helps determine which coronavirus patients are most likely to become critically ill. The study is published in AACC’s Clinical Chemistry journal.
With the number of people who catch COVID-19 increasing day by day, it is imperative that hospitals set aside an adequate number of ICU beds and ventilators for these COVID-19 patients.

In low-income communities, identifying COVID-19 patients who are likely to experience severe illnesses is also the need of the hour, because nearly half of these communities in the U.S. lack ICU bed facilities.

The new Single Molecule Array (Simoa) SARS-CoV-2 antigen test developed by David R. Walt, PhD, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University in Boston identifies patients who are likely to need ICU. The test detects and measures blood levels of S1—a protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2 viral envelope.

Study Results
In 64 COVID-19 patients, researchers evaluated the test’s performance. Of these

23 study participants had undetectable S1 concentrations
23 had low concentrations (6-50 pg/mL), and
18 patients had high concentrations (>50 pg/mL)

Link between S1 concentration and ICU admission
- 77% of the patients with increased S1 concentrations were admitted to the ICU and required intubation within 1 day of presentation at the hospital.
- 52% and 30% of patients with low and undetectable concentrations, respectively, required intensive care.

“These results suggest that high S1 concentrations in plasma upon presentation to the hospital correlate with severe cases of COVID-19 that can result in respiratory failure and require immediate intubation,” said Walt. “Severe COVID-19 cases with acute respiratory distress syndrome can result in damage to endothelial cells and vascular leakage and we propose that this damage can lead to discharge of viral antigens into the blood.”

How do you Stay Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Wash hands after going out or interacting with people
- Wear a filtered mask with the absorbent while surface facing the mouth absorb the germs that you cough out.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Avoid eating uncooked meat.