New Delhi: Researchers have identified specific proteins in the blood plasma of people infected with COVID-19 that may help predict which patients may need to be placed on ventilators to breathe and which are most likely to die of the virus. The researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in the US studied blood plasma samples from 332 COVID-19 patients. The tudy principal investigator Carlos Cruchaga, said,
Identifying harmful proteins may be helpful as we confront not only variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, but also as new viruses emerge in the future.We may be able to draw blood from an individual with a COVID infection, check the levels of these key proteins and quickly determine risk for serious outcomes. We then could use that information to determine the best course of treatment.
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The team studied plasma samples from COVID-19 patients admitted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, US and compared them to plasma samples from 150 people who had not been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Because the samples were obtained as patients were being admitted to the hospital, the proteins linked to worse COVID-19 outcomes were identified long before any patients actually were placed on ventilators or died from the virus.
The study, published in the journal iScience, used a technique called high-throughput proteomics to identify overexpression and underexpression—also known as dysregulation—of the proteins. The scientists conducted additional testing to distinguish which of the proteins actually caused severe illness from those that became dysregulated as a result of severe illness.
Although the research team identified a large number of proteins that were altered in patients with COVID-19, they determined that the presence of any of 32 proteins that become dysregulated during COVID infection indicated that patients would require breathing assistance from a ventilator. They identified another five proteins that, when found to be altered in blood plasma as a result of the virus, indicated likelihood of death for the patient. Mr. Cruchaga further said,
Many of the proteins we identified were related to inflammation and to the body’s immune response, for example, so it wasn’t surprising to find them altered by COVID infection. But a subset of these proteins raised the likelihood that patients would need ventilation or go on to die. Using these proteomics approaches, we now have a methodology that allows us to predict problems, and that can be very important for clinical practice.
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Among the 332 COVID-19 patients studied, those whose blood plasma had any of 32 dysregulated proteins—proteins that indicated they might require ventilation to breathe—eventually did require breathing help, typically about a week after admission to the hospital (82 patients).
Of the 332 patients, only those who had alterations in five proteins the scientists linked to severe illness eventually died due to infection (63 patients), according to the researchers. They also studied similar proteomics data from 297 COVID-19 patients and 76 controls at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and found that the same proteins indicated the eventual need for ventilators and the likelihood of death in both groups of patients.
The research also showed that some of the proteins that were dysregulated during COVID-19 infection were linked to coronary artery disease and Alzheimer’s disease pathways, confirming that COVID-19 can increase the risk for these disorders. The researcher added,
That was a surprising finding, because this project was not focused on those issues. Some of the proteins we identified are causal proteins in Alzheimer’s pathology, and others are used as biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease, both in the blood and in the cerebrospinal fluid.
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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.