9561 – Cell-free DNA in blood reveals cell, tissue and organ specific injury associated with COVID-19

COVID-19 patients present with disparate clinical manifestations leading to different life-threatening complications and requiring different treatments. There is an urgent need to quickly assess disease severity and to quantify injury to multiple organs simultaneously in order to monitor patients and guide clinical management. This invention describes a minimally invasive molecular test to assess tissue and organ-specific injury due to COVID-19 by quantifying overall and tissue-specific circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA). cfDNA are short fragments of DNA circulating in blood, plasma, and urine that originate from debris of dead cells from across the body and carry tissue-specific methylation markers. This diagnostic method was applied in two independent patient cohorts and detected evidence of significant injury to liver and lung and involvement of red blood cell progenitors associated with severe COVID-19. Test results were predictive of the WHO disease progression stage, the need for aggressive clinical measures including ICU admission and mechanical ventilation, and in-hospital mortality. Aris Despo add74@cornell.edu 607-254-4698

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