Blood neurofilament light chain and total tau levels at admission predict death in COVID-19 patients.

Patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 range from asymptomatic, to mild, moderate or severe disease evolution including fatal outcome. Thus, early predictors of clinical outcome are highly needed. We investigated markers of neural tissue damage as a possible early sign of multisystem involvement to assess their clinical prognostic value on survival or transfer to intensive care unit (ICU).We collected blood from 104 patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 the day of admission to the emergency room and measured blood neurofilament light chair (NfL), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1), and total tau protein levels.We found that NfL, GFAP, and tau were significantly increased in patients with fatal outcome, while NfL and UCH-L1 in those needing ICU transfer. ROC and Kaplan-Meier curves indicated that total tau levels at admission accurately predict mortality.Blood neural markers may provide additional prognostic value to conventional biomarkers used to predict COVID-19 outcome.

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Authors: Rebecca De Lorenzo, Nicola I Loré, Annamaria Finardi, Alessandra Mandelli, Daniela M Cirillo, Cristina Tresoldi, Francesco Benedetti, Fabio Ciceri, Patrizia Rovere-Querini, Giancarlo Comi, Massimo Filippi, Angelo A Manfredi, Roberto Furlan