COVID-19 Severity Linked With Chemical Biomarker

April 20, 2021
Killian Meara

Killian Meara, assistant editor for ContagionLive, joined the MJH Life Sciences team in November 2020. He graduated from William Paterson University with a degree in liberal studies, and concentrations in history and psychology. He enjoys film, reading, and pretending he is a good cook. Follow him on Twitter @krmeara or email him at [email protected]

The SAA biomarker could allow physicians the opportunity to better care for and manage a patient’s course of disease.

A recent study conducted by investigators from the University of Sassari, in collaboration with investigators from Flinders University, have found that the chemical biomarker serum amyloid A (SAA) is linked with the varying severity of COVID-19 in individuals.

Results from the study were published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The investigators believe that the biomarker could be used to better manage treatments and interventions, including vaccinations.

"Our analyses showed that COVID-19 patients with severe disease or who eventually died had significantly higher levels of SAA when compared to patients with mild COVID-19," Arduino Mangoni, senior author on the study said. "Patients with severe forms of coronavirus disease 2019 have excessive inflammation, alterations in clot formation, and significant damage in several organs, particularly the lung, the kidney, the heart, and the liver,"

For the study, investigators in Italy and Australia looked at 19 of the latest research studies, which included 5,617 patients who had a confirmed case of COVID-19, and analyzed their data for specific markers they could use to predict the severity and progression of the disease.

Findings from the study showed that SAA, a protein synthesized in the liver, can spike up to 1,000-fold within the first 24-48 hours of an infection with COVID-19. This spike in SAA levels can increase inflammation and cause organ damage, as well as clot abnormalities.

Knowing this marker of inflammation may aid physicians in risk stratification and more effective disease management, allowing for the monitoring of progression and assisting in the judicious use of scarce health care resources.

"This chemical may help, together with other patient characteristics, in predicting which COVID-19 patients are likely to deteriorate and require aggressive management," the investigators said.