It is well known now, that most people infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience low-degree fever or flu-like symptoms, but then severe respiratory failure (SRF) emerges. The new research managed to identify the protein that can be a predictor for SRF - the protein suPAR (Soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor).
This study is the first one that connected the higher volume of suPAR with COVID-19 and suggested that suPAR can be used as a predictor for SRF. Since suPAR is a part of the innate immune system, the conclusion about the COVID-19 load can be made.
During the research, the level of suPAR was observed for 15 SARS-CoV-2 patients. A team of scientists from Athene University checked 57 patients' suPAR level and was collecting their clinical information including things such as the time until the intubation. It was discovered that time was the shortest for people with a higher level of suPAR.
According to researchers, there is a lot of information that suggests that suPAR associates with SRF and lung failure for COVID-19 patients. However, the connection between suPAR and respiratory failure can also be used to help people.
Using suPAR as a predictor by regularly checking its levels in blood plasma might allow doctors to understand which patients need stronger observation.
This research also suggests that the connection between suPAR and organ failure because of COVID-19 should be further investigated. It has been proven before that the high levels of suPAR are harmful to kidneys and can cause kidney diseases. It has been observed that COVID-19 patients also tend to have kidney problems, which was the reason to look into suPAR closer for the research.
However, the sample size of the research is too small to make certain conclusions. It is important to keep the investigation going to realize the importance of the suPAR predicting role.