BLOOD tests could help identify patients who are more likely to die from the coronavirus, scientists have claimed.
New tests could determine patterns in the levels of blood proteins that are able to predict whether the condition of an individual with Covid-19 will remain stable or if it will deteriorate.
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Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London have identified various proteins in the blood which could identify how patients are treated.
In order to determine the impact on patients, blood tests would be carried out using mass spectrometers that could run as many as 800 tests a day.
The researchers claimed this could be undertaken at a low cost and that the technique uses many machines that hospitals already have.
In order for the technique to be successful, it would rely on machine learning which is currently being trained on data gathered from hundreds of German patients.
It is hoped that this will recognise patterns in the levels of blood proteins.
So far in the UK over 39,000 people have died from the coronavirus and the new development could help NHS care providers determine how patients with the virus are treated.
Scientists should receive ethical approval from the NHS within weeks, then it will be able to use data from patients which would also train and test the AI.
Speaking to The Times, group leader at the Molecular Biology of Metabolism at the Crick, Professor Markus Ralser said he is setting up a team of European networks to accelerate the development process.
“Doctors like to have prognostic tests. A Covid patient might look to be in a bad condition — but this doesn’t necessarily tell you how this patient will develop during the next few days. Is the patient on a stable trajectory? A negative trajectory? Is he already recovering?” “Patients which require intensive care would receive it earlier.”
The data collected from German patients has fallen into two sets.
One is involved with the immune system, which includes the body’s defence against Covid-19, how proteins react with this defence will show how the patient will cope with the illness and how severe their symptoms may be.
The second relates to more severe cases of the virus and is linked to blood clotting.
Previous studies have claimed that blood thinning medications could help treat the virus.
The main issue with the research is the fact that people react differently to the virus, with many carries being asymptomatic.
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Some even have conditions such as “happy hypoxia”, which means their oxygen levels are low, but they show no symptoms of the virus.
The researchers identified 27 proteins in the blood that differ between Covid patients.
Co-author of the paper, Vadim Demichev said he hoped the tests could be beneficial on a wide range of conditions in the future.
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