Researchers in Florida are developing a blood test that could genetically predict whether you are at high or low risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms.
University of South Florida scientists say that it could help customize treatments for COVID-19 sufferers and potentially save lives. A simple vial of blood is all that’s needed to foresee how bad your reaction could be.
“It’s mind-blowing,” said Dr. Jose Herazo-Maya, one of the study authors at USF, according to ABC Action News. The researchers plan to complete their documentation this week and submit their study for peer review and publication.
The blood test relies on your genetic patterns of expression which can give medical experts an idea of how severely you may be affected by the virus. If they express abnormally, it could mean that you are at risk of dying, says Herazo-Maya, who says his blood test has a 75% accuracy rating.
“We will be able to identify the patients who are more likely to die before they even have severe symptoms of COVID-19,” says the expert, according to ABC Action News. Herazo-Maya, a noted pulmonologist in the Naples, Florida, area, and his colleagues developed a similar blood test in 2013 to predict mortality from pulmonary fibrosis or scarring of the lungs.
If his current endeavor proves successful in upcoming clinical trials, it will mean that COVID-19 patients could then receive customized care.
“We treat everybody the same, but maybe not everybody should be treated the same,” he said. The test, called the 50 Gene Risk Profile, could also help identify areas in communities and in the country that may be harder hit by the pandemic and allow more equitable distribution of supplies and intensive care equipment. According to the Mayo Clinic, gene expression profiling is currently being used with breast cancer patients to assess their risk of recurrence.
USF Health plans to conduct trials of the COVID-19 blood test this year.
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