Researchers have spotted two markers of inflammation that they mention can perfectly predict the severity of the coronavirus or COVID-19 cases and the chances of survival, giving a foundation for a diagnostic platform and therapeutic targets.
The study conducted at the Mount Sinai Hospital and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in the US was published in Nature Medicine. The scientists found four cytokines that circulated in the blood and are commonly associated with the infections. They discovered that two of them, IL-6 and TNF-α, were able to predict which patients were probably going to develop more severe forms of the coronavirus and die.
Scientists Spot 2 Markers to Predict Severity of COVID-19
The researchers established that the levels of IL-6 and TNF-α in serum when it is measured at admission to a hospital got elevated in patients who fared the worst, a finding that was independent of the other underlying medical issues of the patients, demographics like age sex and other clinical biomarkers.
As per the scientists, the results of the tests showed that the risk of deaths in the patients having elevated IL-6 or TNF-α was higher, even while considering the other known risk factors. Researchers then validated their prediction model by making use of samples from an additional group of 231 coronavirus patients.
According to the scientists, these cytokines must be monitored in the treatment of coronavirus patients fore helping to select those who should enter clinical trials and receive specific drugs than can target them. "We propose that serum IL-6 and TNF-α levels should be considered in the management and treatment of COVID-19 patients to stratify prospective clinical trials, guide resource allocation and inform therapeutic options," the lead researcher of the study, Dr. Sacha Gnjatic, Associate Director of the Human Immune Monitoring Center at Mount Sinai mentioned.
"We also propose that patients with high IL-6 and TNF-α levels should be assessed for combinatorial blockade of pathogenic inflammation in this disease. Drugs blocking these cytokines are either US Food and Drug (FDA)-approved or in clinical trials," he added.
As per the researchers, the findings also call for the usage of drugs targeting IL-6 and TNF-α by themselves or combined at the same time, to be tested for their probable benefit based on the elevated levels of starting.
These findings can turn out to be huge for the treatment of the coronavirus. The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times ad has claimed the lives of over 813,000 people globally.