Scientists have developed, for the first time, a blood test and new scoring system that can accurately predict which patients will develop a severe form of Covid-19. The study’s senior author is Gerry McElvaney, a professor of medicine at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Ireland. The Dublin-Boston score can now accurately predict how severe the infection will be on day seven after measuring the patient’s blood for the first four days. The blood test works by measuring the levels of two molecules that send messages to the body’s immune system and control inflammation. One of these molecules, interleukin (IL)-6, is pro-inflammatory, and a different one, called IL-10, is anti-inflammatory. Both are modified in severe Covid-19 patients.
“Pro-inflammatory cytokines,” in particular IL-6, “were increased in those with severe illness,” the sudy constated. “The Dublin-Boston score is easily calculated and can be applied to all hospitalised Covid-19 patients,” said RCSI Professor of Medicine Gerry McElvaney, the study’s senior author and a consultant in Beaumont Hospital. The Dublin-Boston score was developed by researchers from RCSI, Harvard University, Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. More research is needed.