COVID-19 Severity and Risk Predicted by New Metabolism-Based Blood Test

Next Generation Metabolomics Stratifies Risk Using Biochemical Signatures Measured in Plasma
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 2:25 PM CST

LONG BEACH, Calif., Dec. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers at the Nagourney Cancer Institute and Metabolomycs, Inc. announced in today's issue of PLOS ONE - - a study that showed that COVID-19 related illness severity and death can be predicted by a blood test that is conducted at the time of diagnosis.

Working in collaboration with investigators from the Cassems Medical Center in Campo Grande, Brazil, 82 patients with RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 were compared with 31 healthy controls.

Blood samples were obtained from each patient and studied for biochemical composition using quantitative mass spectrometry. This technique allowed researchers to measure minute quantities of metabolites in the blood. Investigators identified metabolic signatures that could distinguish mild COVID-19 infection from more severe and lethal forms of the disease.

"It has long been recognized that persons with certain co-morbidities such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection," said Dr. Nagourney, lead researcher. "Our results now confirm the metabolic basis of COVID-19 severity. By using amino acid, lipid and other blood measures, we showed that subtle, previously undetectable levels of liver, mitochondrial and immune abnormalities underlie each persons' predisposition to life-threatening COVID-19 infection."

The implications could be profound as it could enable the healthcare community to stratify patients based on individual risk, allowing doctors to allocate medical resources more effectivity and treat those at greatest risk earlier in the course of the disease before severe complications set in. The findings suggest that it is not the infecting organism, in this case the COVID-19 virus, but instead the individual's response to the infection that determines outcome. This could have important ramifications for the management of newer variants as they arise.

"When we compared the usual risk factors such as obesity against our new metabolic signatures, the biochemical measures proved highly discriminatory and may in the future enable us to find those otherwise healthy, younger patients who are destined to develop more severe disease, all in time to intervene," Nagourney said.

The quantitative mass spectrometry platform used in this study is a groundbreaking technology that has already been applied by Dr. Nagourney's team for diagnosis and prognosis in breast, ovarian and other cancers as these authors have reported in Scientific Reports, Oncotarget and most recently Gynecologic Oncology.

About the Nagourney Cancer Institute and Metabolomycs

The Nagourney Cancer Institute is a clinical research center that has pioneered the study of human tumor tissue for individualized cancer patient drug selection and has facilitated cancer drug discovery. Metabolomycs, Inc is a California-based corporation that applies metabolic signatures measured by mass spectrometry to study human health and disease. Visit and for more information.

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SOURCE Nagourney Cancer Institute

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