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COVID Biomarkers

The rapid spread of COVID-19 changed the global health landscape in a matter of months. The scientific community responded to this complicated disease by initiating research to identify disease biomarkers or biological molecules found in blood and other body fluids that are signals of the disease. This research helps us know not only if someone has contracted COVID, but also its severity level: will the patient need to be hospitalized? Or put on a ventilator? 

Phenomic data help unravel the biomarker mystery. On an exploratory level, it allows us to measure everything, creating a context ripe for discovery to advance our knowledge about the disease, as well as the best course of treatment. 

The study presented here was one of the first COVID studies that employed deep immune profiling, which entailed exploring how the immune system reacted at a single-cell level. This allowed us to identify molecular and cellular changes that occur over the progression of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

Results roundup:

  • Phenomic data reveals an immune shift between a mild SARS-CoV-2 infection and a moderate SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • Examining classes of immune cells revealed an orchestrated immune response not visible by looking at any one cell individually, and this signal could be detected by profiling proteins and metabolites in the blood (more abundant, cheaper, and technically easier targets to measure)—we need a systems approach to identify and track these changes!
  • These results suggest that routine clinical measures may act as surrogate biomarkers for the immune dysfunction that emerges following a mild SARS-CoV-2 infection

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