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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Scientists creates rapid blood test to detect Covid-19 patients

The study, mentioned in the JCI Insight journal, analyses mitochondrial DNA levels, a specific form of genetic material that typically resides within cell energy factories.

Scientists creates rapid blood test detect Covid-19 patients here is how.

Researchers created a rapid blood test that can indicate the COVID-19 patients within a day of hospital stay are at high risk of significant complications or death, a development that can help to determine people that may gain better from particular investigational therapies.

Scientists creates rapid blood test

The study, mentioned in the JCI Insight journal, analyses mitochondrial DNA levels, a specific form of genetic material that typically resides within cell energy factories.

Mitochondrial DNA overflowing out of cells and into the bloodstream suggests that a form of violent cell death is taking place in the body, according to researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis in the United States.

“Doctors need better tools to evaluate the status of COVID-19 patients as early as possible because many of the treatments are in short supply, and we know that some patients will get better without intensive treatments,” said study co-author Andrew E. Gelman.

“We need to understand why some patients, irrespective of their ages or underlying health in some cases, go into this hyperinflammatory death spiral.

“Our study suggests that tissue damage may be one cause of this spiral since the mitochondrial DNA that is released is itself an inflammatory molecule,” Gelman added.

To detect Covid-19 patients

The researchers said that viruses are believed to cause a type of tissue damage termed necrosis, that is an aggressive, inflammatory reaction to the infection, noting that this can lead in cells breaking open and releasing their materials, including mitochondrial DNA.

“In COVID-19 patients, there has been anecdotal evidence of this type of cell and tissue damage in the lung, heart and kidney. We think measures of mitochondrial DNA in the blood may be an early sign of this type of cell death in vital organs,” Gelman explained.

The researchers suggest that the experimental test will help predict the seriousness of the condition and also serve as a method for further planning clinical trials to classify patients who could benefit from particular investigational therapies.

“We will need larger trials to verify what we found in this study, but if we could determine in the first 24 hours of admission whether a patient is likely to need dialysis or intubation or medication to keep their blood pressure from dropping too low,” said Hrishikesh S. Kulkarni, another co-author of the research.

Researcher’s Report

In the report, the researchers tested 97 patients with COVID-19 on the first day of their hospital stay, evaluating their mitochondrial DNA levels.

They observed that in patients who ultimately were admitted to the ICU, intubated or died, mitochondrial DNA levels were much higher.

According to the report, this correlation held regardless of the age, sex and underlying health conditions of a patient.

It observed that in patients with COVID-19 who experienced serious lung dysfunction or ultimately died, mitochondrial DNA levels were approximately tenfold higher.

Those with higher levels were almost six times as likely than those with lower levels to be intubated, three times as likely to be admitted to the ICU, and almost twice as likely to die, the scientists reported.

They said the test might also assign probabilities and also, or better than, the existing inflammation markers now assessed in COVID-19 hospitalised patients.

The test is easy to run, returning results in less than an hour, according to the scientists, and uses the same machinery that processes the normal PCR test for COVID-19.

They said the technique makes it possible to measure mitochondrial DNA levels directly from patient blood samples without needing intermediate steps to remove the blood DNA.

Before filing for clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration, the researchers aim to check that the procedure is successful in a wider multi-centre study.

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