Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute (https://www.crick.ac.uk/) in the UK and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (https://www.charite.de/en/), together with colleagues at additional institutions, have identified 27 protein biomarkers that could be used to predict whether a patient with COVID-19 is likely to become severely ill with the disease. People infected with SARS-CoV-2, the RNA virus that causes COVID-19, respond differently. Some do not develop any symptoms, some need to be hospitalized and, for some, the disease is fatal. In this study, published online on June 1, 2020 in Cell Systems (https://www.cell.com/cell-systems/fulltext/S2405-4712(20)30197-6/), researchers found 27 potential biomarkers that are present at different levels in patients with COVID-19, depending on the severity of their symptoms. The markers could help doctors to predict how ill a patient will become and provide scientists with new targets for drug development. The open-access Cell Systems article is titled “Ultra-High-Throughput Clinical Proteomics Reveals Classifiers of COVID-19 Infection.” The researchers refined a mass spectrometry (MS) analysis method to rapidly test for the presence and quantity of various proteins in the blood plasma. This MS platform was developed at the Francis Crick Institute and applied to analyze serum of 31 COVID-19 patients at the Berlin University Hospital Charité. The results were further validated in 17 additional patients with COVID-19 at the same hospital and in 15 healthy people. The researchers hope their findings will lead to the development of simple routine tests to check for the levels for one or some of these proteins in patients with COVID-19. The results of such tests could be used to support doctors in deciding what treatment to give.
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