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Utility of Routine Laboratory Biomarkers to Detect COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jana SuklanORCiD, Dr Sarah HillORCiD, Dr Sam Urwin, Dr Kile GreenORCiD, Amanda Winter, Tim HicksORCiD, Anna Boath, Dr Ashleigh KernohanORCiD, Dr David Price, Dr Joy AllenORCiD, Eoin Moloney, Dr Sara Graziadio



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


No routine laboratory biomarkers perform well enough in diagnosing COVID-19 in isolation for them to be used as a standalone diagnostic test or to help clinicians prioritize patients for treatment. Instead, other diagnostic tests are needed. The aim of this work was to statistically summarise routine laboratory biomarker measurements in COVID-19-positive and -negative patients to inform future work. A systematic literature review and meta-analysis were performed. The search included names of commonly used, routine laboratory tests in the UK NHS, and focused on research papers reporting laboratory results of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. A random effects meta-analysis of the standardized mean difference between COVID-19-positive and -negative groups was conducted for each biomarker. When comparing reported laboratory biomarker results, we identified decreased white blood cell, neutrophil, lymphocyte, eosinophil, and platelet counts; while lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase were elevated in COVID-19-positive compared to COVID-19-negative patients. Differences were identified across a number of routine laboratory biomarkers between COVID-19-positive and -negative patients. Further research is required to identify whether routine laboratory biomarkers can be used in the development of a clinical scoring system to aid with triage of patients.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Suklan J, Cheaveau J, Hill S, Urwin SG, Green K, Winter A, Hicks T, Boath AE, Kernohan A, Price DA, Allen AJ, Moloney E, Graziadio S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Viruses

Year: 2021

Volume: 13

Issue: 5

Pages: 803

Print publication date: 30/04/2021

Online publication date: 30/04/2021

Acceptance date: 28/04/2021

Date deposited: 24/05/2021

ISSN (electronic): 1999-4915

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/v13050803


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