Oct 20, 2021 1 min, 17 secs
A new study in EMBO Molecular Medicine suggests that there are “fitness” proteins on the surface of certain cells that can predict who might progress to a severe case of COVID-19 should they be infected.

In this case, the scientists were able to find it through a simple nasal swab—theoretically opening the door for people to be tested for it at the same time they are tested for COVID infection itself.

In a study involving nasal swab samples from 283 people, the authors of the new paper were able to predict who would end up hospitalized with about 84 to 88 percent accuracy.

Gogna and his team tested his hypothesis by first looking at lung tissue samples from 11 people who had already died from COVID.

Based on their early nasal swab samples, the team accurately predicted that 72 people would end up in the hospital after COVID infection (86 people actually were hospitalized).

In theory, you could get a second swab done when you go for a COVID-19 test, and test for this biomarker to determine your risk level for severe infection.

One of the biggest questions is whether Flower-lose proteins are really a better predictor of severe infection than other well-known risk factors, like age or underlying conditions.

But the new findings suggest that Flower-lose proteins are a slightly better metric than other factors (like age) for predicting severe COVID.

Biomarkers like Flower-lose proteins that predict disease outcomes with more specificity are called prognostic biomarkers.

Ultimately people probably won’t be lining up for nasal swab tests to determine their COVID-19 risk

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