Scientists and researchers are chipping away at the COVID-19 block, and each day a new level of understanding is found. Today, scientists think they have found what seems to be the key factor between a patient developing a severe coronavirus case, or a mild one.
Scientists think they have come across an indicator in COVID-19 patients that will be able to tell healthcare workers if the patient will develop a severe case of COVID-19, or a mild one. According to a study published in Critical Care, researchers say that increased plasma levels of suPAR could indicate that a patient will develop a more severe case of COVID-19.
Studies have shown that high plasma levels of suPAR increase the risk of kidney injury, and many COVID-19 patients are showing signs of kidney injury. This coincidence is what caused researchers to examine the possible link between COVID-19, suPAR levels, and kidney disease. Rush University Medical Center's Jochen Reiser, who is a co-correspondent of the study, said, "This is the first report in the world to show that suPAR is elevated in COVID-19 and is predictive. Since suPAR is a reactant of the innate immune system, it's an indicator of disease severity."
Reiser continued, "These results show that the higher the plasma suPAR level, the worse the outcome will be in the lungs of these patients. The higher the suPAR level, the shorter the time before patients needed intubation. There is a body of literature that suPAR is associated with poor outcomes from acute respiratory distress syndrome (a condition in many patients with severe COVID-19) and poor lung functioning in critically ill patients."
"If we measure suPAR as part of diagnosing COVID-19, we may know whom to watch more and whom to send home. Plasma suPAR levels give us a window into the course of the disease, allowing for improved monitoring and applying new and supportive treatments early."
Due to the study's being small in sample size, more research is required before a conclusive answer is published. At the moment, the findings do indicate that suPAR is harmful, but for the time being, more research is needed to be done.
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