Study to identify markers that could predict COVID-19 outcome
COVID-19 is the UK's largest public health crisis since World War II. There is an urgent need to identify why some patients with the virus do very well whereas others need to be admitted to intensive care and may die from the disease. A new observational study aimed at identifying markers that predict how COVID-19 affects patients is being led by clinicians and academics at North Bristol NHS Trust and the University of Bristol. The DISCOVER (DIagnostic and Severity markers of COVID-19 to Enable Rapid triage) study is focused on blood-based biomarkers and their ability to predict a patient’s disease course alongside demographic factors such as age, sex, frailty and other medical conditions.
When patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are admitted to hospital, they will be approached by the research team and consented for blood sampling and access to their medical history. These patients will then be followed up for 28 days, remotely, and their clinical progress recorded. Blood samples from the study will be stored anonymously for future research.
One biomarker the research team will test is suPAR (soluble urokinase plasminogen activating receptor), which has already had encouraging results from Greek data, alongside other more conventional tests, such as troponin, NT-proBNP and ferritin. The team will also test a variety of molecules that control the immune system, known as "cytokines". This is very important as, although the majority of patients with COVID-19 recover quickly, at the present time doctors do not yet know the best way to predict which patients to keep in hospital to monitor more closely. This early triage of patients is crucial to manage the pressure on hospital beds safely.
(Content Courtesy: https://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2020/may/discover-study.html)