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Rapid blood tests can identify patients with severe and high-risk COVID-19

2021-01-20
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One of the most disturbing aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that doctors cannot predict which new hospitalized patients will continue to develop some serious illnesses. Recently, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that relatively simple and fast blood tests can be performed on admission It is predicted within one day which COVID-19 patients are most likely to have serious complications or death. The study involved nearly 100 newly admitted COVID-19 patients.

Rapid blood test can identify severely ill high-risk COVID-19 patients
Rapid blood test can identify severely ill high-risk COVID-19 patients

A blood test can measure the level of mitochondrial DNA, which is a unique type of DNA molecule that usually resides in the energy factory of the cell. Mitochondrial DNA overflows cells and enters the blood, which indicates that a certain type of cell death is occurring in the body.

The level of mitochondrial DNA is a measure of tissue damage. The picture shows damaged mitochondria released from the human lung (dark gray area). The small black dots around the mitochondria are magnetic beads with antibodies on them that are used to isolate and study unhealthy mitochondria that have been released from dying tissues.

The level of mitochondrial DNA
(Image source: Wandy Beatty)

The level of mitochondrial DNA is a measure of tissue damage. The picture shows damaged mitochondria released from the human lung (dark gray area). The small black dots around the mitochondria are magnetic beads with antibodies on them that are used to isolate and study unhealthy mitochondria that have been released from dying tissues.

Researchers say that medical staff need to understand why certain patients enter this highly inflammatory death spiral under certain circumstances. Studies have shown that tissue damage may be one of the reasons for this spiral, because mitochondrial DNA is released and is itself an inflammatory molecule. Researchers say the test can be used as a way to predict the severity of a disease, and it can also be used as a tool to better design clinical trials to identify patients who may benefit from specific research treatments.

Researchers currently need to conduct larger trials to verify the results found in this study, but if patients can be determined within the first 24 hours of admission whether they need dialysis, intubation, or medication to prevent blood pressure from falling too low, That will change the way patients are classified and may change the way of early treatment.
Researchers evaluated the mitochondrial DNA levels of 97 COVID-19 patients on the first day of hospitalization at Barnes Jewish Hospital. They found that patients who eventually entered the ICU, were intubated, or died had much higher levels of mitochondrial DNA. The researchers found that this association has nothing to do with the patient’s age, gender, and basic health status. On average, COVID-19 patients who suffer from severe lung dysfunction or who eventually die have mitochondrial DNA levels about ten times higher. Compared with people with lower levels, people with higher levels are six times more likely to be intubated, three times more likely to be admitted to the ICU, and almost twice as likely to die.

After the cell ruptures, it releases contents including mitochondrial DNA, and mitochondrial DNA itself drives inflammation. In COVID-19 patients, there is evidence that this type of cells and tissues are damaged in the lungs, heart, and kidneys. Researchers believe that the measurement of mitochondrial DNA in the blood may be an early sign of cell death in vital organs.

The researchers also emphasized that the test can be performed quickly and directly in most hospital environments because it uses the same equipment that handles the COVID-19 PCR test standard. The method developed by the researchers allows the level of mitochondrial DNA to be quantified directly in the blood, and DNA can be extracted from the blood without intermediate steps. The technology can get results in less than an hour.

About Medicilon

Medicilon (stock code: 688202) was established in 2004 and is headquartered in Shanghai. It is committed to providing a full range of pre-clinical new drug research services for global pharmaceutical companies, research institutions and scientific researchers. Medicilon’s one-stop comprehensive service helps customers accelerate the development of new drugs with strong project management and more efficient and cost-effective R&D services. The services cover the entire process of pre-clinical new drug research in medicine, including drug discovery, pharmaceutical research and clinical trials. Pre-research. Medicilon grows together with high-quality customers at home and abroad, and provides new drug research and development services to more than 700 customers around the world. Medicilon will continue to base itself on a global perspective, consolidate China’s innovation, and contribute to human health!

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