BD secures European approval for COVID-19 blood test to predict which patients may need a ventilator

blood test tube
BD's new diagnostic evaluates the status of a person’s immune system by gauging the amounts of specific types of white blood cells. (Getty Images)

BD has launched a new COVID-19 blood test in Europe that can help hospitals identify incoming patients that may be more likely to require intensive care with a ventilator and carry a higher risk of death from the disease.

The diagnostic evaluates the status of the person’s immune system by gauging the amounts of specific types of white blood cells. 

The test kit “may help clinicians better determine an appropriate course of action for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, which is a top priority for this population,” said Puneet Sarin, worldwide president of BD Biosciences, and that the diagnostic can also help preserve medical resources.

Certain patients with COVID-19 may have lower levels of CD4 and CD8 T cells, which help regulate the immune system and fight off infections. Clinical studies have shown that decreased T-cell counts are associated with increased risks and the need for intubation and breathing support with a mechanical ventilator.

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Researchers at BD found that risks for ventilation and mortality can be five to six times higher after a specific cutoff: if CD4 T-cell counts drop below 250 per microliter or if CD8 cells are under 100 per microliter.

The BD Multitest’s CE marked reagents and blood sample collection tubes are used with the company’s FACSLyric and FACSCanto II clinical flow cytometers. The test as a whole is used to determine the percentages and absolute counts of T, B and natural killer cells as well as subpopulations of T cells in peripheral blood.