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Scientists from Israeli company MeMed and the Rabin Medical Center in Israel have demonstrated that a rapid test could identify Covid-19 patients’ response to drug treatments in a new study.

The test can check which patient is responding to treatments and whose condition is still deteriorating and may need higher doses of medication.

The team led by MeMed researchers Dr Tahel Ber and Eran Eden and the Rabin Medical Center researcher Shaul Lev showed that the former’s 15-minute blood test for the protein interferon-gamma induced protein 10 (IP-10) could aid in guiding treatment with corticosteroids.

In the study, researchers measured IP-10 levels of 52 Covid-19 patients twice a day with the help of the test for a month, with 26 of them developing severe disease.

It was observed that severe patients had very high median IP-10 levels versus median levels of the non-severe group.

Ber said: “Our findings show that IP-10 testing could be used to identify patients who are not responding to standard corticosteroid regimens and who need more aggressive treatment, something that physicians were afraid to resort to before, because they didn’t know what effect it would have.”

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Meanwhile, two different research teams found that a blood test for calprotectin could tell which patients are at risk of decline, aiding hospitals to provide better resources.

In Sweden, a team led by Karolinska Institute and Gentian Diagnostics’ Aleksandra Mandic Havelka found, with the help of the test, that ICU patients with Covid-19 had higher calprotectin levels versus ICU patients without the disease.

Another team led by Luis García de Guadiana-Romualdo from Hospital Universitario Santa Lucía in Cartagena, Spain, found that calprotectin levels were higher in patients who needed mechanical ventilation and/or died, compared with other non-severe patients.

They also analysed the calprotectin test’s performance with other ones testing for disease severity.

It was observed that the only test for C-reactive protein (CRP) could predict the patient need for mechanical ventilation and mortality as precisely as calprotectin.