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High ferritin even a biomarker of severe Covid-19 infection

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    Assessment of serum ferritin as a biomarker in COVID-19: bystander or participant? Insights by comparison with other infectious and non-infectious diseases

    • PMID: 32700561
    DOI: 10.1080/1354750X.2020.1797880


    BACKGROUND: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has an impact on all aspects of patient care. Serum ferritin generally represents a biomarker of choice when iron deficiency is suspected. However, ferritin is also an acute-phase-protein exhibiting elevated serum concentrations in various inflammatory diseases. Here we focus on the role of serum ferritin for diagnostic and clinical management of patients with COVID-19 in comparison with other infectious and non-infectious diseases.METHODS: We examined scientific articles listed in PubMed reporting on ferritin in various infectious and non-infectious diseases. We then compared these results with nine current COVID-19 ferritin reports published in 2020.RESULTS: Several non-infectious as well as non-COVID-19 infectious diseases are characterized by a partly dramatic elevation of serum ferritin levels. All COVID-19 studies published between February and May 2020, which documented laboratory serum ferritin, indicate ferritin as a diagnostic biomarker of COVID-19 severity in hospitalized patients.CONCLUSIONS: Serum ferritin may be considered both a prognostic and stratifying biomarker that can also contribute to therapeutic decision-making concerning patients with COVID-19. It should be emphasized, however, that most scientific reports refer to cohorts in the Asian region. Further validation in other cohorts is urgently required.

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