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Highly Accurate Prognostic Test Predicts Personalized Risk of Severe Illness Due to SARS-CoV-2 Virus

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 24 Mar 2021
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A highly accurate prognostic test that predicts personalized risk of severe illness due to SARS-CoV-2 virus could become an important tool to manage the uncertainty of daily life during the pandemic by identifying high-risk individuals and for those that cannot be vaccinated.

Oxford BioDynamics Plc (Oxford, England) has launched its EpiSwitch COVID-19 Severity Test (CST), based on the company’s EpiSwitch 3D genomics platform. Requiring only a routine blood draw, this important prognostic test is able to identify high-risk individuals who, if exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, are likely to experience the most severe COVID-19 complications and will potentially require hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) support. This test is also relevant to manage care for those individuals who because they are immune-compromised/immune-suppressed or for other medical reasons cannot be vaccinated.

Standard available COVID-19 tests can only detect current or previous infection. They cannot predict immune response. EpiSwitch CST is a prognostic test which uses specific 3D genomic biomarkers to assess immune health and therefore can predict the likely severity of an individual’s COVID-19 response ahead of infection. People known to have a high risk of severe or critical disease may be able to benefit from increased infection mitigation, early aggressive medication, or early intervention in the event of infection. The score provided by the EpiSwitch CST will better enable physicians and at-risk individuals to form effective healthcare management plans, including making informed clinical decisions, lifestyle choices and workplace strategies.

The EpiSwitch CST is based on the findings of Oxford BioDynamics’ recently published, genome-wide study of COVID-positive patients, which identified key 3D genomic biomarkers that determine severity of COVID response. This precision medicine qPCR test was validated using international cohorts of COVID-19 patients from North America, South America and the UK, with the full spectrum of severities of response. It was shown to be robust for predicting critical (ICU) illness due to COVID-19, with high accuracy (92%), sensitivity (96%), specificity (86%), PPV (92%) and NPV (93%).

“As COVID-19 continues to have a major impact on us all, smarter, not just more, testing is required, to enable us to make informed decisions and manage our lives and livelihoods,” said Dr. Jon Burrows, CEO of Oxford BioDynamics. “Even with advanced national vaccination programs underway, millions of people (10 million in the US alone) remain exposed to the risk of severe COVID disease because they are immune-compromised/immune-suppressed or for other medical reasons cannot be vaccinated. Understanding their individual risk will enable them and their physicians to formulate a proactive healthcare plan, and ensure they take appropriate infection mitigation measures.”

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