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Will I get severe ill if infected with COVID-19? This new genomic test can identify patients at high risk for poor outcomes.

Written By Longjam Dineshwori | Updated : September 17, 2022 12:34 PM IST

Some people have higher risk of developing severe COVID-19, than others. Are you one of them? A simple PCR-based blood test can determine if you’re at risk of severe COVID-19.

AMPEL Biosolutions, a precision medicine company based in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Virginia has developed a new genomic test that can predict a patient’s risk of developing severe COVID-19. The test, called CovGENE, was more than 90 per cent accurate at predicting patients at risk for bad outcomes, said researchers who conducted a study at University of Virginia Health System.

The test reports could help identify high-risk patients and allow doctors to quickly start tailored treatment for them, the experts suggested.

CovGENE: Learn more about this new genomic test

According to the researchers, CovGENE analyzes genes expressed in the blood to determine whether a patient may experience severe COVID-19 and increased risk of death.

The company is in the process to partner with a diagnostic testing company or pharmaceutical company to bring this gene-analysis approach to market as a simple PCR-based blood test.

Peter Lipsky, CEO, AMPEL, stated that they are looking forward to its rapid development as a precision-medicine tool, which can improve the outcome of COVID-19 patients and reduce the number of hospitalizations.

The results of the study on CovGENE have been published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Risk factors of COVID-19 severity

Several factors have been linked to seriously COVID-19 infection, including a patient’s pre-existing health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease. Research has also shown that men with low testosterone levels are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19, requiring hospitalization.

People with dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, are also at higher risk of contracting severe COVID-19 and dying as a result of the viral infection. The risk is threefold, as suggested by a study from USP’s Chemistry Institute.

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