GlyHealth-COVID: A precision medicine test to identify ImmunoFrail patients at high risk of becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19

Study code

Lead researcher
Dr Daniel Spencer

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
Ludger Ltd. Oxford

Researcher type

Speciality area
Infection, COVID


We are carrying out a study to establish whether health outcomes from COVID-19 infection are related to another established indicator of an individual’s general immune-health, that is, does one aspect of their immune response to disease, lifestyle and aging indicate higher than desirable levels of chronic inflammation. It is hypothesised that individuals with higher levels of chronic inflammation may have poorer health outcomes when infected with COVID-19.

We are currently working with other clinical partners to establish a basic understanding of the disease’s relationship and inflammation, and this has been on-going for about 12 months. It is anticipated that further research will take at least another 12 months. We will collect blood samples and any supporting health metrics (age, gender, BMI, other health issues, and also other inflammation biomarkers if available).

The samples will be processed with a special enzyme that release complex sugars that exist on blood proteins. These complex sugars are associated with many health features and may serve as biomarkers of health risks with COVID-19 infection when analysed on special equipment we have called ultra high pressure liquid chromatography. We will then use bioinformatics and biostatics to see if the blood complex sugar results indicate which patients are more prone to poorer health outcomes. In some cases clinicians, and patients are taken by surprise by the severity of a COVID-19 infection. We speculate that chronic levels of inflammation, previously un-detected using conventional technology, may establish which individuals are likely to have a poorer health outcome upon infection. By knowing this patient, and clinicians are better informed as to how to manage their general health and to escalate treatment sooner, in order to prevent debilitating health outcomes now and in the future.

Once we have completed the first part of our study with other partners, we will be in a better position to identify criteria and request COVID-19 samples with NIHR Bioresource. We would like to partner with NIHR Bioresource in order to obtain the most informative clinical studies to help patients and clinicians both in the current fight against COVID-19, potential future variants of the disease, but also to raise awareness of the pernicious nature of chronic inflammation and its impact on a multitude of health relating processes including natural aging.