New blood test predicts which Covid-19 patients will develop severe infection


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Scientists have developed, for the first time, a score that can accurately predict which patients will develop severe Covid-19.

The study, led by researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RSCI), is published in the Lancet's translational research journal EBioMedicine.

The measurement, called the Dublin-Boston score, is designed to enable clinicians to make more informed decisions when identifying patients who may benefit from therapies, such as steroids, and admission to intensive care units. The score has been shown to accurately predict how severe the infection will be on day seven after measuring the patient’s blood for the first four days.

The blood test works by measuring the levels of the pro-inflammatory interleukin (IL)-6 and the anti-inflammatory IL-10. Based on the changes in the ratio of these two molecules over time, the researchers developed a point system where each 1-point increase in the score was associated with a 5.6-times increased odds for a more severe outcome.

“The Dublin-Boston score is easily calculated and can be applied to all hospitalised Covid-19 patients,” said RCSI Professor of Medicine Gerry McElvaney, the study’s senior author.

The score was developed by researchers from the RCSI, Harvard University, Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.