Chromatography Identifies Clinical Classifiers of COVID-19
Jun 23 2020
Anyone following the daily news and government bulletins on coronavirus and COVID-19 will appreciate how quickly the situation changed from day-to-day. Part of the reason for this was that we were dealing with the unknown. Unknown factors about symptoms, disease severity, and how to prevent the spread of a disease with many mysterious elements demonstrated that no matter how prepared we think we are nature can always upset our best strategies.
A recent preprint on the medRxiv server - Clinical classifiers of COVID-19 infection from novel ultra-high-throughput proteomics – discusses the use of chromatography and proteomics to try and help balance the fight against COVID-19. The paper reports on work that researchers have been carrying out to identify biomarkers and provide analysis as to the disease susceptibility and progression in patients.
Fighting back against COVID-19
The ongoing pandemic has shown that we need technologies that can help us to understand a disease and how it progresses much quicker than we currently have. Doctors and medical researchers need a technology that can highlight a diseases severity in a patient, giving the doctor an idea of the prognosis for that patient and what stage the disease is at in that patient. We also need technologies that can help us to identify treatment strategies and how we can stop a disease from spreading rapidly throughout a population.
The use of PCR – polymerase chain reaction – based diagnostics can be utilised quickly and provide a rapid means to scale up testing, but they do not report information about the severity of a disease and how it is likely to spread. Biomarker tests can rely on antibodies and testing and development can take time as we have seen with the current pandemic. So, the authors behind the paper referenced above suggest a scheme based on mass spectrometry proteomics. This technology does not rely on prior knowledge of the disease and can act in an untargeted fashion.
Chromatography helping to target COVID-19
The papers authors report that MS based proteomics can deliver substantial amounts of information from blood plasma and serum which means that it could become the ideal technology to when rapid responses are needed. MS proteomics also has the advantage in that it is already an established method in many laboratories and is routinely used to identify biomarkers and profile them.
The paper's authors demonstrate that MS proteomics using liquid chromatography provided a high-throughput platform that allows quick and cost-effective analysis of disease susceptibility and progression in COVID-19 patients. The power of LC-MS is discussed in the article, Tackling the Glyphosate Paradox with IC-MS/MS: Towards Enhanced Monitoring and Analysis of Polar Anionic Pesticides. The paper’s authors conclude; Our study demonstrates the value and power of robust high-throughput mass spectrometry in a global public health crisis.
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