Point-of-Care Insider

Dear Point-of-Care Insider,

One of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic is determining which patients are most likely to require aggressive intervention. In a new study, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital believe they have developed a blood test to do just that.

Their test measures C-reactive protein (CRP) in the early days of hospital admission for COVID-19, and they found that changes in CRP levels over time were more accurate in predicting COVID-19 severity than the baseline CRP level on admission.

In other news, the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak saw some of the most severe outbreaks occur on cruise ships. Several of these ships were forced to remain at sea or docked in port as clinicians scrambled to get passengers tested. In one case, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests had to be flown out to a ship by helicopter.

But what if you just had PCR tests permanently on board? That's what one cruise line is trying, with the goal of providing daily COVID-19 testing to forestall outbreaks -- and potentially get the cruise industry back on its feet.

Also, Australian researchers tested the viability of a cheap, portable diagnostic that can test for levels of fibrinogen in blood in less than four minutes. The test could be scaled into a point-of-care (POC) tool and placed in ambulances and other first responder vehicles.

Researchers from Hong Kong describe how they developed an assay that detects the unique SARS-CoV-2 orf8 protein in the sera of COVID-19 patients in the early stage of the infection. It could help detect the presence of the virus in asymptomatic people.

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