By: Jesper Eugen-Olsen, PhD, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Denmark

The corona virus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic puts tremendous pressure on hospital resources and capacity. Clinical markers of progression are urgently needed in order to quickly discharge patients, who will not develop severe disease, to own home isolation. They are also needed to identify those who will develop more severe symptoms and should be admitted to the medical ward, or to the ICU.

A biomarker or a combination of biomarkers that can predict the disease progression may be useful for discharging patients. At the same time it would be valuable to detect the patients with a moderate disease risk and where further progression is low.

There has been reports on hyper-immune activation and cytokine storm in patients with a severe response to infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.1 However, cytokines are unstable and fluctuating according to sample handling, making them unsuitable for routine clinical decision
making.

Several routine biomarkers have been shown to be associated with severe illness and mortality in patients with COVID-19. These include increased white blood cel