Haematology biomarkers for COVID-19 assessment: an HORIBA white paper

HORIBA UK, Medical has published a white paper entitled ‘COVID-19 screening, prognosis and severity assessment with biomarkers for management of patients’. The paper provides a review of biomarkers that help in the assessment of COVID-19 severity.

The gold standard for confirmation of COVID-19 diagnosis is through the detection by molecular analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 viral genome using qPCR. However, detection of the virus is not a predictor of the severity of the disease, so the use of a comprehensive panel of easily measured biological markers with clinical observations can support screening and prompt patient management decisions.

Several biomarkers have been observed to be abnormal in COVID-19 patients and the relevance of identifying them lies in decreasing the possibility of misdiagnosing severe COVID-19 and providing more insightful information for better patient management. Many cohorts of different populations have been reported, principally from China, showing abnormal laboratory assessments of complete blood count, liver and renal function, biochemical and coagulation testing and inflammatory factors, among others.

The biological markers that can support COVID-19 screening, triage and prognosis discussed in the white paper can all be measured on routine haematology analysers. These markers are white blood cells (WBC), platelets, D-dimer, C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen; the paper provides a literature review and overview of the response of each to COVID-19 clinical severity. For example, lymphopenia and increases in CRP plus cytokines, D-dimer and fibrinogen have all been noted in a number of scientific papers to correlate with COVID-19 disease severity.

Supporting the new white paper,1 HORIBA Medical has also published a series of three Focus Notes which review ‘How biological markers could contribute to the monitoring of COVID-19’. Each focuses on a different panel of biomarkers, with the first discussing haematology biological markers, the second highlighting the inflammatory marker CRP, and the third detailing the use of haemostasis markers. These, as well as the white paper, are all available for download at HORIBA Medical’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) dedicated web page (www.horiba.com/en_en/products/by-segment/medical/hematology-analyzer/coronavirus-covid19/).

HORIBA Medical designs and manufactures a broad portfolio of systems capable of measuring a range of potential COVID-19 biomarkers, both at the point of care and in the laboratory. For example, in addition to full blood count with WBC differentials, lymphocytes and platelets available on all of its haematology analysers, HORIBA combines these parameters with CRP on its Microsemi CRP and Pentra MS CRP analysers. The Microsemi CRP can deliver these parameters at the point of care to support rapid triage and clinical decisions. Completing the portfolio, HORIBA’s Yumizen G range of coagulation analysers provide accurate measurement of fibrinogen and D-dimer.


1 Siatka C, Eveillard M, Nishimura J, Duroux C, Ferrandi G. (2020). COVID-19 screening, prognosis and severity assessment with biomarkers for management of patients. HORIBA Medical White Paper. Published April 2020. https://static.horiba.com/fileadmin/Horiba/Products/Medical/By_Segment/COVID-19_screening__prognosis_and_severity_assessment_with_biomarkers_HORIBA_Medical.pdf