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Blood test could prevent COVID-19 patients from getting sicker
From being asymptomatic to developing life-threatening symptoms, it’s become clear that people infected with COVID-19 respond to the virus with vastly different degrees of severity.
With that in mind, researchers from St. Paul’s Hospital are developing a blood test to identify people at risk of getting seriously ill after a COVID-19 diagnosis so they can receive care to prevent them from getting sicker. The diagnostic’s findings could also support public health in marshalling appropriate resources to where they’re needed most.
Test could monitor high-risk people who test positive
Leading the research is Dr. Mari DeMarco, a clinical chemist at St. Paul’s and principal investigator for the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI). She says the new test aims to go beyond traditional serology testing – which detects antibodies the body produces to fight an infection – and gather more information about a person’s specific immune response to the virus. Such a test could be used to monitor high-risk people who have been infected, such as seniors in long-term care. “The hope is to identify people that are likely to have a more severe response to a SARS-CoV-2 infection and use this information to guide care and ease the severity of a person’s disease course,” she says.