Lunaris™ Applications - Biomarker Quantification in COVID-19 Research

Introduction

The severe acute respiratory syndrome conronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its associated disease (Coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19) is the cause of a fast-growing pandemic that keeps the world on tenterhooks. Typically characterised by fever and respiratory symptoms, the disease appears to have a wide range of manifestations. COVID-19 can progress in either complete asymptomatic forms, non-severe symptomatic forms or severe forms with serious respiratory impairment and mortality. However, apart from the role of the viral load, little is known about the mechanisms that lead to severe disease forms. Preliminary research suggests that a protective immune response triggered during the onset of COVID-19 is unlikely to eliminate the virus in patients progressing to the severe form. The main cause of mortality in these patients is likely cell damage in the lungs leading to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Initial evidence points at higher serum levels in those patients of certain proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines like IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-17, G-CSF, GM-CSF, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IP10, MCP1, MIP1A compared to mild cases of COVID-19. It appears that in severe cases, a so-called cytokine storm - an excessive or uncontrolled release of cytokines - leads to pulmonary hyperinflammation and triggers excessive production of fluid in the lungs. Additionally, these elevated serum and plasma levels of biomarkers are associated with the occurrence of pneumonia and tissue damage.

Monitoring biomarker levels in COVID-19 patients over time might therefore be helpful in predicting disease progression and may help identify those who would benefit from immunosuppression, a treatment that could counteract disease progression to severe stage. Futhermore, biomarker analysis in COVID-19 may decipher disease mechanisms on a molecular level and inform the development of urgently needed treatments.


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