The Model for Early COvid-19 Recognition (MECOR) Score: A Proof-of-Concept for a Simple and Low-Cost Tool to Recognize a Possible Viral Etiology in Community-Acquired Pneumonia Patients during COVID-19 Outbreak

Gianluca Sambataro, Mauro Giuffrè, Domenico Sambataro, Andrea Palermo, Giovanna Vignigni, Roberto Cesareo, Nunzio Crimi, Sebastiano Emanuele Torrisi, Carlo Vancheri, Lorenzo Malatino, Michele Colaci, Nicoletta Del Papa, Francesca Pignataro, Erik Roman-Pognuz, Massimiliano Fabbiani, Francesca Montagnani, Chiara Cassol, Lorenzo Cavagna, Valentina Zuccaro, Verena ZerbatoCristina Maurel, Roberto Luzzati, Stefano Di Bella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study aims to assess the peripheral blood cell count “signature” of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to discriminate promptly between COronaVIrus Disease 19 (COVID-19) and community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). We designed a retrospective case-control study, enrolling 525 patients (283 COVID-19 and 242 with CAP). All patients had a fever and at least one of the following signs: cough, chest pain, or dyspnea. We excluded patients treated with immunosuppressants, steroids, or affected by diseases known to modify blood cell count. COVID-19 patients showed a significant reduction in white blood cells (neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils) and platelets. We studied these parameters univariately, combined the significant ones in a multivariate model (AUROC 0.86, Nagelkerke PSEUDO-R2 0.5, Hosmer–Lemeshow p-value 0.9) and examined its discriminative performance in an internally-randomized validation cohort (AUROC 0.84). The cut-off selected according to Youden’s Index (−0.13) showed a sensitivity of 84% and a specificity of 72% in the training cohort, and a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 73% in the validation cohort. In addition, we determined the probability of having COVID-19 pneumonia for each Model for possible Early COvid-19 Recognition (MECOR) Score value. In conclusion, our model could provide a simple, rapid, and cheap tool for prompt COVID-19 diagnostic triage in patients with CAP. The actual effectiveness should be evaluated in further, prospective studies also involving COVID-19 patients with negative nasopharyngeal swabs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number619
JournalDiagnostics
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Blood cell count
  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Diagnosis
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Neutrophils
  • Platelets
  • Pneumonia
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry

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