Targeted metabolomics identifies high performing diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for COVID-19

Yamilé López-Hernández*, Joel Monárrez-Espino, Ana Sofía Herrera van Oostdam, Julio Enrique Castañeda Delgado, Lun Zhang, Jiamin Zheng, Juan José Oropeza Valdez, Rupasri Mandal, Fátima de Lourdes Ochoa González, Juan Carlos Borrego Moreno, Flor M. Trejo-Medinilla, Jesús Adrián López, José Antonio Enciso Moreno, David S. Wishart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Research exploring the development and outcome of COVID-19 infections has led to the need to find better diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. This cross-sectional study used targeted metabolomics to identify potential COVID-19 biomarkers that predicted the course of the illness by assessing 110 endogenous plasma metabolites from individuals admitted to a local hospital for diagnosis/treatment. Patients were classified into four groups (≈ 40 each) according to standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 testing and disease course: PCR−/controls (i.e., non-COVID controls), PCR+/not-hospitalized, PCR+/hospitalized, and PCR+/intubated. Blood samples were collected within 2 days of admission/PCR testing. Metabolite concentration data, demographic data and clinical data were used to propose biomarkers and develop optimal regression models for the diagnosis and prognosis of COVID-19. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC; 95% CI) was used to assess each models’ predictive value. A panel that included the kynurenine: tryptophan ratio, lysoPC a C26:0, and pyruvic acid discriminated non-COVID controls from PCR+/not-hospitalized (AUC = 0.947; 95% CI 0.931–0.962). A second panel consisting of C10:2, butyric acid, and pyruvic acid distinguished PCR+/not-hospitalized from PCR+/hospitalized and PCR+/intubated (AUC = 0.975; 95% CI 0.968–0.983). Only lysoPC a C28:0 differentiated PCR+/hospitalized from PCR+/intubated patients (AUC = 0.770; 95% CI 0.736–0.803). If additional studies with targeted metabolomics confirm the diagnostic value of these plasma biomarkers, such panels could eventually be of clinical use in medical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14732
Pages (from-to)14732
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), Grant number 311880.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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