Hematological and Biochemical Parameters as Prognostic Markers of COVID-19 Disease Progression in Hospitalized Patients: A Study in Gabon

Author(s): Berthe Amélie Iroungou, Larson Boundenga, Edith Sylvie Manga Manguiya, Aurore Pryslya Bouassa, Jean Raymond Nzenze, Guignali Laurette Mangouka

Despite many Sub-Saharan African countries being relatively unaffected by this pandemic, there is a lack of information on COVID- 19-related biological abnormalities in the region. Therefore, this study aimed to describe the hematological and biochemical abnormalities of COVID-19 patients in Gabon. The study was conducted at the Military Hospital in Libreville, Gabon's capital, and analyzed the hematological and biochemical examination results (including circulating enzymes and blood cell count) of 837 COVID-19 inpatients. The patients were grouped into severe forms admitted to the intensive care unit (n=31, 3.72%), mild symptomatic forms (n=282, 33.7%), and asymptomatic forms (n=524, 62.6%). Over 95% of the patients received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. The study found that fatal outcomes (1.4% of the total series, n=12) were significantly associated (P<0.001) with older age (53.1±15.0 years), high CRP levels (378±248 mg/mL), and severe lymphopenia (6.7±6.6%). The median age of the patients was over 41 years, and the only laboratory feature that differentiated symptomatic and asymptomatic cases was an increase in blood levels of LDH (234±88 IU/mL vs. 144±50 mM, P=0.0039). Therefore, the study suggests that CRP, ionic disorders, and LDH could be used as prognostic parameters to assess the severity of illness and classify COVID-19 patients in Sub-Saharan African countries.

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