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Blood test to check covid risk

A standard test that assesses blood cells can identify which patients admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 could face a high risk of becoming critical and die, according to researchers.

“We wanted to help find ways to identify high-risk COVID patients as early and as easily as possible — who are likely to become severely ill and which hospitalized patients are likely to get worse quickly,” said study researcher John M Higgins from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.

“We quickly re-focused our computational infrastructure towards the analysis of the Covid-19 patient cohort that was growing rapidly in the Boston area last spring,” explained study first author Brody Foy from the Harvard Medical School.

“We were surprised to find that one standard test that quantifies the variation in size of red blood cells — called red cell distribution width, or RDW — was highly correlated with patient mortality,” the researchers wrote.

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