The datasets obtained by COVID-19 patients across different pandemic periods are an opportunity to run detailed analyses and establish the prognostic value of variants virulence vaccination on disease severity and clinical markers. But how to overcome the many existing hurdles?
A new article by Fabrizio Stracci, Alessio Gili, Enza Caruso, Giuseppe Ambrosio, thanks to the collaboration of Riccardo Polosa, Founder of the CoEHAR, has been published on Internal and Emergency Medicine, the official journal of the Italian Society of Internal Medicine.
The comment “Value of hospital datasets of COVID-19 patients across different pandemic periods: challenges and opportunities” analyzed the information obtained from hospitalized patients regarding the severity of COVID-19 across different pandemic periods and SARS-cov-2 variants.
The authors stressed that the “uniqueness of different epidemic waves hampers comparability”: throughout several pandemic years, there is a difference in number of people infected, severity of the disease and specific patients’ characteristics among different epidemic waves. Hospital access can also change over time and protocols for hospitalization may change due to better knowledge of this new disease and to new treatment opportunities.
The researches cited a work by Wang and colleagues that reports a detailed analysis of data from a large hospital in Melbourne: based on the comparison of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across diﬀerent periods, the authors conclude that infection with the Omicron variant is less severe than with earlier SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Interestingly, the paper by Wang reports lower levels of laboratory markers of inﬂammation and better health outcomes among vaccinated persons hospitalized in 2022. It is important to note that available studies conﬁrm that the Omicron variant and prior vaccination can reduce disease severity independently. Wang et al. used their data to develop a speciﬁc risk score for oxygen treatment requirements.
When giving proper relevance to these ﬁndings, important confounders need to be considered: vaccination rates, better organizations of hospitals and immunity rates.
Taken all togheter, data from hospitals are an opportunity to establish the prognostic values of the virulence of SARS-Cov-2 variants, vaccination on disease severity and clinical and laboratory markers.
Authors concluded that in order to overcome the limitations and develop useful predictive models, researchers need well definite study protocols and defined population and to conduct formal case–control and cohort studies involving hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients.