Who will get it worse? COVID-19 edition

We have all been living with a pandemic for the past year and a half. In one way or another, it has impacted the lives of everyone. Humanity has paid the price in lockdowns, continuous testing, restricted travel, economic costs, and most importantly, the loss of our loved ones. Although the direct risk from COVID-19 is not the same for everyone, these actions were and still are required to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19; and the associated resulting burden on healthcare systems.

 

At this point in the pandemic, we must focus on the identification of the ones who are the most vulnerable to be affected by COVID-19. People at the highest risk who are clinically most vulnerable are being identified by the assessment of clinical history and underlying health conditions [1]. However, we can now take full advantage of personalised medicine of specific markers found in the serum or plasma sample. The significance of the work we have previously published [2] on population screening, is that identification of those the most clinically vulnerable for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) associated with COVID-19 could now potentially be identified directly; tested on an individual basis by the analysis of humoral biomarkers. A pin-prick self-collection of a sample and the straightforward preparation method of “dilute and shoot” play a key role in making this method viable for population screening.

 

So, who will get COVID-19 the worst and why do we need to know that? At present, the specific change in two serum proteins, Immunoglobulin (IgG3) and human serum albumin (HSA) has been directly associated with the severity of the COVID-19 clinical symptoms. With some countries considering the requirement for a booster jab, this could be a great tool to identify those that need it the most as well as screening technology for the most at risk; regardless of age or known health conditions. This method could be key to enabling the healthcare sector to focus its efforts and consequently reduce the collective price the world community is paying.

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/who-is-at-high-risk-from-coronavirus-clinically-extremely-vulnerable/

[2] https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.08.21260186v1.full.pdf

 

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