Plasma biomarkers for systemic inflammation in COVID-19 survivors

Proteomics Clin Appl. 2022 Sep;16(5):e2200031. doi: 10.1002/prca.202200031. Epub 2022 Aug 15.


Background: While the majority of COVID-19 patients fully recover from the infection and become asymptomatic, a significant proportion of COVID-19 survivors experience a broad spectrum of symptoms lasting weeks to months post-infection, a phenomenon termed "post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC)." The aim of this study is to determine whether inflammatory proteins are dysregulated and can serve as potential biomarkers for systemic inflammation in COVID-19 survivors.

Methods: We determined the levels of inflammatory proteins in plasma from 22 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) long haulers (COV-LH), 22 COVID-19 asymptomatic survivors (COV-AS), and 22 healthy subjects (HS) using an Olink proteomics assay and assessed the results by a beads-based multiplex immunoassay.

Results: Compared to HS, we found that COVID-19 survivors still exhibited systemic inflammation, as evidenced by significant changes in the levels of multiple inflammatory proteins in plasma from both COV-LH and COV-AS. CXCL10 was the only protein that significantly upregulated in COV-LH compared with COV-AS and HS.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that several inflammatory proteins remain aberrantly dysregulated in COVID-19 survivors and CXCL10 might serve as a potential biomarker to typify COV-LH. Further characterization of these signature inflammatory molecules might improve the understanding of the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and provide new targets for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 survivors with PASC.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; biomarkers; inflammation; long haulers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • COVID-19* / complications
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Survivors


  • Biomarkers