In order to identify biomarkers for earlier prediction of COVID-19 outcome, we collected blood samples from patients with fatal outcomes (non-survivors) and with positive clinical outcomes (survivors) at ICU admission and after seven days. COVID-19 survivors and non-survivors showed significantly different transcript levels for 93 genes in whole blood already at ICU admission as revealed by RNA-Seq. These differences became even more pronounced at day 7, resulting in 290 differentially expressed genes. Many identified genes play a role in the differentiation of hematopoietic cells. For validation, we designed an RT-qPCR assay for C-type lectin domain family 12 member A (CLEC12A) and acetylcholinesterase (ACHE), two transcripts that showed highest potential to discriminate between survivors and non-survivors at both time points. Using our combined RT-qPCR assay we examined 33 samples to accurately predict patient survival with an AUROC curve of 0.931 (95% CI = 0.814–1.000) already at ICU admission. CLEC12A and ACHE showed improved prediction of patient outcomes compared to standard clinical biomarkers including CRP and PCT in combination (AUROC = 0.403, 95% CI = 0.108–0.697) or SOFA score (AUROC = 0.701 95% CI = 0.451–0.951) at day 0. Therefore, analyzing CLEC12A and ACHE gene expression from blood may provide a promising approach for early risk stratification of severely ill COVID-19 patients.

Fuente: Scientific Reports

Published: 16 March 2023