Scientists develop spectroscopy-based COVID-19 triage tool

2021 01 15 22 11 6312 Coronavirus Blood Cells 400

Attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy is a rapid, low-cost tool that can be used to triage the severity of illness in patients with COVID-19, according to research published recently in Analytical Chemistry.

Indian and Australian researchers collected infrared spectra of blood plasma from 160 COVID-positive patients from Mumbai (130 as a training set for model development and 30 as a blind test set for model validation). They established a simple plasma processing and ATR-FTIR data acquisition procedure using 75% ethanol for viral inactivation.

"We found there were measurable differences in the infrared spectra in the patients who became severely unwell," said Michelle Hill, PhD, of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Queensland, in a news release.

Addition of the ATR-FTIR spectra to clinical parameters (age, sex, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension) increased the area under the receiver operating curve (ROC) for both the training and test datasets, from 69.3% to 85.7% in the training set and from 77.8% 85.1% in the blind test set, the researchers found.

Agilent Technologies, which made the Cary 630 FTIR spectrometer used in the study, said the work highlights the potential of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy for COVID-19 and infectious disease research and that the company will continue to support research in the field.

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