Prognostic Score Predicts COVID-19 Severity

October 14, 2020

Looking at certain characteristics in a blood test can help forecast patients’ course and inform clinicians’ determination on the course of treatment.

Using a blood test, researchers have developed a measurement to predict the severity for COVID-19 for patients.

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.

A study led by researchers at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences published their findings The Lancet's translational research journal EBioMedicine.

The Dublin-Boston score can now predict how severe the infection will be on day 7 after measuring the patient's blood for the first 4 days.

The blood test works by measuring the levels of two molecules that send messages to the body's immune system and control inflammation. One of these molecules, interleukin (IL)-6, is pro-inflammatory, and IL-10, is anti-inflammatory. The levels of both are altered in severe COVID-19 patients.

Based on the changes in the ratio of these 2 molecules over time, the researchers developed a point system where each 1-point increase 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 hospitalized COVID-19 patients," RCSI Professor of Medicine Gerry McElvaney, the study's senior author and a consultant in Beaumont Hospital, said.

“Our findings are consistent with a prior report investigating the use of cytokine ratios in a small cohort of patients with the Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome,” the investigators wrote. “The link to clinical deterioration is similarly intuitive.”