A rapid blood sample test that measures mitochondrial DNA is helpful in spotting the patients who would later face the most serious COVID complications.
The study explains, “One of the most vexing aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is doctors’ inability to predict which newly hospitalized patients will go on to develop severe disease, including complications that require the insertion of a breathing tube, kidney dialysis or other intensive care”.
While age and medical history can help predict the outcome in a general sense, there have been instances where seemingly low-risk patients have suffered from a severe covid infection of death.
In this study, the team found that mitochondrial DNA levels were increased tenfold in patients with COVID-19 who developed severe lung dysfunction or died later.
It was found that people with increased levels of mitochondrial DNA were six times more likely to be intubated, three times more likely to be admitted to the ICU and twice more likely to die as compared to those with lower levels of mitochondrial DNA.
The mitochondrial DNA spilling out of cells into the bloodstream is a sign that a particular type of violent cell death is taking place in the body.
The preliminary results are promising but more research is needed to confirm the findings of the study.
Here are some more signs that may predict a severe COVID case in future: