Science

Covid-19 can cause kidney damage: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 24, 2020 Published on September 24, 2020

Covid-19 patients can face increased levels of soluble urokinase receptor (suPAR), an immune-derived pathogenic protein that is strongly predictive of kidney injury   -  Bloomberg

‘More than one-third Covid-19 patients end up in need of dialysis’

A new study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that coronavirus positive patients who get hospitalised may face kidney damage or acute kidney injury (AKI), which could further exacerbate their condition.

The study noted that Covid-19 patients can face increased levels of soluble urokinase receptor (suPAR), an immune-derived pathogenic protein that is strongly predictive of kidney injury.

Study author Jochen Reiser from the University of Michigan in the US: “SuPAR is a circulating factor we’ve seen contribute to kidney injury in thousands of patients.”

Also read: Over 11,000 people potentially exposed to Covid-19 while travelling by air: CDC

Reiser explained: “RNA viruses such as HIV and SARS-CoV-2 elicit a suPAR response of the innate immune system, leading to a rise in blood suPAR levels. If there is a hyperinflammatory suPAR response, kidney cells may be damaged.”

Researchers also mentioned in their study that more than one-third Covid-19 patients end up in need of dialysis. These patients develop severe symptoms and are at a higher risk of death.

For the study, researchers examined suPAR levels in 352 participants when they were hospitalized after Covid-19 infection.

A quarter of the participants developed acute kidney injury while hospitalized. Their median suPAR levels were over 60 per cent, higher than those of the rest of the participants.

Dialysis

Researchers found that the chances of needing dialysis were increased 20-fold in patients with the highest suPAR levels.

Also, median suPAR levels in patients with severe Covid-19 were almost three times higher than the levels of healthy people.

The authors of the study wrote: “Certainly, a suPAR level at the time of hospitalisation of Covid-19 patients will provide an important risk stratification tool with respect to patient outcomes such as intubation or kidney failure.”

“This will help hospitals by providing proper surveillance of patients at higher risk of a severe Covid-19 course,” they noted.

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Published on September 24, 2020
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