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Lymphopenia predicts disease severity of COVID-19: a descriptive and predictive study

By Li Tan, Qi Wang, Duanyang Zhang, Jinya Ding, Qianchuan Huang, Yi-Quan Tang, Qiongshu Wang, Hongming Miao

Posted 03 Mar 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.01.20029074

BackgroundCoronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) is a rapidly escalating epidemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. Identification of a simple and effective indicator to assess disease severity and prognosis is urgently needed. MethodsDynamic changes of blood lymphocyte percentage (LYM%) in 15 death cases, 15 severe cases as well as 40 moderate cases of COVID-19 patients were retrospectively analyzed. A Time-LYM% model (TLM) was established according to the descriptive studies and was validated in 92 hospitalized cases. ResultsResults from death and severe cases showed that LYM% in blood tests were inversely associated with the severity and prognosis of COVID-19. LYM% in moderate type of patients with COVID-19 remained higher than 20% 10-12 days after symptom onset. In contrast, LYM% was lower than 20% in severe cases. However, LYM% in severe cases was higher than 5% 17-19 days after the onset of the disease, while it fell below 5% in death cases. Accordingly, we established a Time-LYM% model (TLM), which was validated as an independent criterion of disease classification in another 92 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. ConclusionLymphopenia can be used as an indicator of disease severity and prognosis of COVID-19 patients. TLM is worth of application in the clinical practice.

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