Breakthrough COVID-19 screening tool allows better risk stratification of COVID-19 positive patients
Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have understood that COVID-19 affects individuals to different extents. While many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms, a small percentage of people will develop a severe or life-threatening condition. Predicting which patients will develop moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 has been an area of interest since the early days of the pandemic, and recent research has finally provided clinicians with a tool that may predict COVID-19 disease severity.
A team of Greek scientists working at the Sorbonne University School of Medicine in France has developed a screening tool called the that has been shown to be effective in predicting disease severity. The team, led by Professor of Hematology Grigoris Gerotziafas, MD, PhD, created this new test by evaluating predictors of hypercoagulability and hematological alterations related to SARS-CoV-2 infection, coupled with other clinical predictors. A examining the efficacy of these scores as a COVID-19 risk assessment model (RAM) was published in Thrombosis and Haemostasis in mid-September.
“With this new development, we hope that we will be able to identify people who have a risk of getting seriously ill, so we can quickly provide the appropriate treatment and stop the further spread of the virus in that person,” Gerotziafas said in an radio station in Greece. “This way, we hope that we will stop the overflow of patients in intensive care units around the world.”
This COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE requires gathering basic patient data, but also includes routine blood tests. “The test provides a score based on basic clinical data of each patient, such as age, gender, and obesity, which we know are associated with a high risk of disease exacerbation. Also, findings from simple blood tests are equally important to our research,” Gerotziafas explained. “Blood tests can be easily conducted in laboratories, which are not specialized, either in big hospitals in the cities or in secondary and tertiary care units.”
The test is not complicated to use or to interpret. “A doctor can complete the COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE questionnaire on the site with the data of the infected patient, and with this score he or she can classify the patients into severity categories, of high or low risk, in terms of the progression of the disease,” stated Gerotziafas. “This way, we can see in time if the patient will need intubation. We hope that we will be able to identify individuals with the biggest risk of getting seriously ill, so we can quickly make some medical adjustments, operations and provide specific treatment.”
Exploring Risk Stratification of COVID-19 Through Clinical Laboratory Test Combination
The COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE can be accessed online and used by anyone. There are multiple laboratory values that are needed to complete the score. These tests include:
- Prothrombin time (PT),
- Antithrombin activity,
- Protein-C activity,
- Platelet count, and
- Lymphocyte count.
The research team that developed this scoring system recommends regular assessment of the score as patients’ disease course progresses.
The COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE may also be a new source of laboratory tests for clinical laboratories. A grouping of several blood tests are needed to utilize this score and because of its predictive value, clinicians are more likely to use this tool with increasing frequency, driving an increase in these lab tests.
Clinical laboratories may be able to increase test volumes in their individual labs by working with clinicians to establish protocols for ordering these predictive tests. This may enable better risk stratification of COVID-19 positive patients, while simultaneously increasing testing volumes.
—By Caleb Williams, Editor, COVID-19 STAT
Thrombosis and Haemostasis: Guidance for the Management of Patients with Vascular Disease or Cardiovascular Risk Factors and COVID-19: Position Paper from VAS-European Independent Foundation in Angiology/Vascular Medicine