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COVID-19: biomarkers to identify the most at risk patients | Coronavirus

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The work of researchers Daniel Kaufmann, Nicolas Chomont and Andrés Finzi could one day lead to the rapid identification of these most at risk patients, and therefore of those who need more special attention or more aggressive care.

It could also help physicians, in the hypothesis of a much more catastrophic scenario, to make impossible choices, in the event that the health network is overwhelmed and there are suddenly no longer enough beds or drugs to supply them. everybody.

This is the kind of measurement that is done routinely for other viral infections, it is done in the laboratory; no need for a research laboratory for that, said Dr Kaufmann.

Dr Kaufmann’s team took blood samples from 279 patients with moderate to critical form of COVID-19. His team then measured the amounts of inflammatory proteins in the blood of patients, while MM. Chomont and Finzi measured the amounts of viral RNA and the levels of antibodies targeting the virus, respectively.

Samples were collected 11 days after symptom onset, and patients were followed for a minimum of 60 days after this period.

The researchers found a direct association between the amount of viral RNA in the blood and the risk of death, when their model was adjusted for the age and sex of the patient.

If the discovery could possibly help doctors decide which patient to give the last available bed in intensive care, Dr Kaufmann especially wants it to be used to identify patients who need closer monitoring because their lives are longer. threatened by the virus.

We hope it will lead to this kind of development, he said. In the longer term, it is the interest of this kind of study.

Dr Kaufmann and doctoral student Elsa Brunet-Ratnasingham confirmed the effectiveness of their model by testing it on two groups of patients: the first at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal (first wave of the pandemic) and the second at the CHUM (second and third waves).

That being said, Dr Kaufmann notes that treatments for COVID-19 have become greatly refined since the early days of the pandemic. He and his colleagues will now try to determine whether the viral load remains a reliable predictor of mortality in the face of this progress.

The conclusions of this study were published by the scientific journal Science Advances.

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