By the end of October 22, 2020, more than 200 countries and regions were affected with more than 40000,000 confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia cases. According to reports, more than 19% COVID-19 patients have been reported to develop severe or critical conditions. Moreover, the mortality rate of critically ill COVID-19 cases can even reach more than 60%. Among the broad symptoms of COVID-19, fever, pneumonia, sepsis, respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and multiorgan injury are frequently observed complications, and are usually associated with the pathophysiological changes such as alveolar macrophage activation, lymphopenia, cytokine release syndrome, microthrombosis and intravascular coagulation in severe COVID-19 patients. However, the pathogenesis and biomarkers of COVID-19 are still poorly understood.
Recently, researcher Xi Zhou and young researcher Yang Qiu from Wuhan Institute of Virology, Professor You Shang from Union Hospital of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), and Professor Yu Xue from College of Life Science and Technology of HUST, and Dean Ding-Yu Zhang from Jinyintan Hospital together discovered a number of COVID-19-associated alterations of host proteins and identified a series of important biomarkers by performing plasma proteomics of COVID-19 patients, The research shed light on the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and might reveal potential therapeutic targets. The article related to the research has been published online in the internationally renowned journal Immunity (https://www.cell.com/immunity/fulltext/S1074-7613(20)30449-0).
The study profiled host responses to COVID-19 by performing plasma proteomics of a cohort of COVID-19 patients including non-survivors and survivors recovered from mild or severe symptoms, and uncovered numerous COVID-19-associated alterations of plasma proteins. We developed a machine learning-based pipeline named POC-19 (Prioritization of Optimal biomarker Combinations for COVID-19) to identify 11 proteins as biomarkers and a set of biomarker combinations, which were validated by an independent cohort and accurately distinguished and predicted COVID-19 outcomes. Some of the biomarkers were further validated by ELISA using a larger cohort. These markedly altered proteins, including the biomarkers mediate pathophysiological pathways. Our findings shed light on the pathogenesis and potential therapeutic targets of COVID-19.
Researcher Xi Zhou and young researcher Yang Qiu from Wuhan Institute of Virology, Dean Ding-Yu Zhang from Jinyintan Hospital, Professor You Shang from Union Hospital of HUST, and Professor Yu Xue from College of Life Science and Technology of HUST are the co-corresponding authors of the paper. Dr. Ting Shu and Dr. Di Wu from Joint Laboratory of Infectious Diseases and Health of Wuhan Institute of Virology & Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. Dr. Jiqian Xu and PhD student Wanshan Ning from HUST, and Dr. Qiangqiang Han from SpecAlly Life Technology company, are the co-first authors of the paper. The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the National Science and Technology Major Project.