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Research shows blood test predicts severity of COVID-19 before contracting the virus

Research shows blood test predicts severity of COVID-19 before contracting the virus

Through analysing over 100,000 UK Biobank samples, Nightingale Health – a Finnish biotech – have launched a preventative screening solution for COVID-19. The solution is based on Nightingale’s blood test that detects the likelihood of a healthy person developing a severe COVID-19 infection before contracting the virus.

In 2020, some of the 500,000 UK Biobank participants developed severe COVID-19 requiring hospitalisation. The study analysed this data and found a specific molecular signature to be more common among those seemingly healthy people who ended up in the hospital due to severe COVID-19. Those with this molecular signature are 5-10 times more likely to be hospitalised if they get a severe infectious disease, enabling targeted preventative actions before contracting the virus.  

Targeted prevention is the ultimate strategy to manage COVID-19. However, inability to detect individuals who would need protection has resulted in lockdowns in many countries.

The blood biomarkers in the molecular signature have not been previously known as risk markers in healthy people for developing severe forms of COVID-19.  

"The best way to detect those at high risk is by looking at a molecular signature of multiple biomarkers. It is striking that the risk identification works well even when focusing on a subset of biomarkers in Nightingale’s blood test that can be captured by self-collection through a finger prick blood sample. These novel findings provide a scalable solution for personalised prevention and population level screening, which can later also be used to prioritise vaccines for those who need it the most."

Dr Peter Würtz, lead scientist of the study and Scientific Director of Nightingale Health