Background: Inflammatory processes activated by rapid viral replication of SARS-CoV-2 can play a key role in the pathogenesis of multiple organ damage and be responsible for the COVID-19 patients' dramatic outcomes and common abnormal laboratory findings. The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between various laboratory biomarkers, ferritin/transferrin ratio (FTR) and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis in monitoring COVID-19 patients.
Methods: This observational study was conducted in three groups: healthy participants, non COVID-19 patients with COVID-19-like clinical signs, and COVID-19 patients (severe and non-severe). Biochemical (CRP, ferritin, transferrin and albumin) and hematological (WBC, lymphocytes) parameters were assessed by automated methods. Moreover, FTR and NLR markers were calculated in the three groups mentioned. Statistical analyses were done using R (version 4.1.0). ROC curve was used to validate the predictive value of parameters.
Results: The COVID-19 positive group had significantly higher NEU, CRP, ferritin, FTR values, while it’s WBC, absolute counts of lymphocytes and albumin were significantly lower compared to the non-COVID-19 patients (p < 0.001). Serum ferritin and FTR level of the severe group was significantly higher than that of the non-severe group (p = 0.006 and (p = 0.011, respectively). The strongest correlation in all subjects showed between lymphocytopenia and increased NEU (r = -0.99, p < 0.001). The AUC values of WBC (0.95), lymphocytes (0.89), NEU (0.88), and NLR (0.88) were higher than CRP (0.64) or Ferritin (0.81).
Conclusions: We recommend using FTR, WBC, and NLR changes as simple, useful, and inexpensive indicators in early detection of COVID-19 patients.