A significant test for predicting whether a patient, infected with COVID-19, will have mild or severe symptoms from the virus, has been created by a team of Greek scientists in France, and will soon be promoted and integrated into the COVID-related operations of hospitals around the world.
The COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE test is a clinical and laboratory tool that provides a deterioration risk score of the virus, and has been developed by the hematology team of the Sorbonne University School of Medicine, which is comprised mainly by Greek scientists and led by Greek professor of hematology, Grisgoris Gerotziafas.
The COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE test is available for free at http://www.medupdate.eu/ and takes users through a series of short multiple choice questions, to identify how severe their COVID symptoms are likely to get and whether their health condition is likely to worsen.
The clinical laboratory score of the test is based on a study conducted in Paris and published several weeks ago in the scientific journal Thrombosis and Aimostasis by the hematology team of Sorbonne University.
“With this new development, we hope that we will be able to identify people who have a risk of getting seriously ill, so we can quickly provide the appropriate treatment and stop the further spread of the virus in that person’s organism”, Prof. Gerotziafas stated in an interview with the Praktorio FM radio station in Greece.
“This way, we hope that we will stop the overflow of patients in intensive care units around the world", he claimed.
The distinguished Greek professor, who is also the director of the Cancer and Thrombosis research team, INSERM U938, as well as the chairman of the Hellenic Committee for Protocols for Venous Thrombosis, referred to the key role that hospitals, clinics and health care professionals have played around Europe, not just for the treatment of the virus, but also for the research conducted on how to defeat it.
“There are multiple research studies going on around the world right now and we have been working on this test in Paris since March.
"The test provides a score based on basic clinical data of each patient, such as age, gender and obesity, which we know are associated with a high risk of disease exacerbation. Also, findings from simple blood tests are equally important to our research.
"Blood tests can be easily conducted in laboratories, which are not specialized, either in big hospitals in the cities or in secondary and tertiary care units.”
“A doctor can complete the COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE questionnaire on the site with the data of the infected patient, and with this score he or she can classify the patients into severity categories, of high or low risk, in terms of the progression of the disease.
"This way, we can see in time if the patient will need intubation,” professor Gerotziafas explained.
An important advantage that the COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE test offers compared to others that are being developed, is that although it is primarily used on patients, for whom it has been confirmed that they are infected with COVID, other individuals, who might just have a high suspicion of infection, or underlying diseases, can also be tested and find out how severe would their potential COVID symptoms be.
On their publication in the scientific journal Thrombosis and Aimostasis, Prof. Gerotziafas and his team of scientists said that a big focus was given on those patients who have been suffering with cardiovascular disease.
“As we have seen so far, 2 out of 3 of the patients that enter the ICU have cardiovascular disease or have cardiovascular risk factors (sugar, stress, obesity).
"So, if we focus on these patients and if we have a tool such as the COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE to assess the risk of disease exacerbation in a timely manner, we hope to stop many patients from being forced to move to intensive care units.
"We hope that we will be able to identify individuals with the biggest risk of getting seriously ill, so we can quickly make some medical adjustments, operations and provide specific treatment.”
As of now, a big number of hospitals around the world have agreed to employ the COMPASS-COVID-19 SCORE test within their hospitals for infected patients and people who have shown some of the already known COVID symptoms.
Prof. Gerotziafas also talked during his interview about the Post-COVID clinics that are already being developed in Paris, due to the serious side effects that some patients have experienced months after their recovery.
He also discussed findings of his research and data that correlate the severity of the disease, not only with the amount of viral load on a patient, but also with the intensity of environmental pollution around the patient.
“Something else we have been working and discussing with doctors from different countries is the observation that after hospitalization, episodes of pulmonary embolism are seen, in a percentage that is estimated to be 2-3% of patients.
"Pulmonary embolism is fatal if not treated early or it can be very severe from the start. That is why the treatment protocols we have today suggest extending the anticoagulant treatment for prophylaxis (prevention) of the patients, who are considered by their doctors, to be at high risk, up to one month after leaving the hospital.
"So, the COVID disease can really leave damage to some and that is why selected patients need constant follow-ups with their doctors.”
The professor also declared that the latest analysis from scientists and virologist working in Greece shows positive results about the existence of antibodies in patients, leading to hopes for a vaccine.
“The data we have is that antibodies are often detected within six months of infection.
"In other people the antibodies are detected by the first trimester, in others by the fourth. Beyond that, there are other mechanisms, reminiscent, that even if the antibodies disappear, the body can respond and produce new ones, as if exposed to the virus.
"The question is whether in re-infections we have the same strain of the virus or different” he stressed.
Earlier in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic erupted in France where Prof. Gerotziafas is located, he talked about the French health care system “sinking” from the overload of patients, and he called for the Greek government to urgently move all Greek cities and towns into a lockdown.
He emphatically said, “If you see president Mitsotakis, tell him to start the traffic ban in Greece tomorrow! A complete traffic ban throughout the country, while there is still time!”
Talking about the uncertainty that surrounds the use of masks and how efficient they are, Professor Gerotziafas explained that, “the severity of the disease is related to the amount of viral load, so masks can help in this."
"Whether masks can actually stop the virus, all we can say is that a mask will reduce the load of the virus someone is emitting and will also reduce the load of the virus that the same person is receiving.”
Concluding his interview Prof. Gerotziafas did not hesitate to raise his concerns for the future of the coronavirus in Greece and how, “we have a long way to go until we return back to normal life.”
“There are very likely mutations of the virus. Which of course changes the approach to vaccinations, as is the case with the flu vaccine, which is different every year.
"In Greece we are facing a new wave, which will be big and we will have to face many difficulties, especially because the Greek population is even mentally exhausted, after the ten-year economic crisis, so we need to brace ourselves.”
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