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Researchers develop world’s first model to predict likelihood of and outcomes from COVID-19

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Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio have developed and deployed the world’s first model for predicting the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 and the outcomes that one is likely to experience from the disease. They believe this new model and its risk calculation tool can be an invaluable resource in efficiently and strategically allocating medical resources and ultimately in minimizing the further spread of the virus.

“The ability to accurately predict whether or not a patient is likely to test positive for COVID-19, as well as potential outcomes including disease severity and hospitalization, will be paramount in effectively managing our resources and triaging care,” said Lara Jehi, M.D., an author on the study. “As we continue to battle this pandemic and prepare for a potential second wave, understanding a person’s risk is the first step in potential care and treatment planning.”

The risk prediction model, called a nomogram, shows how age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, vaccinations, and medications affect the likelihood that people will contract COVID-19 and what types of outcomes they are likely to experience. It was developed using data from more than 11,000 individuals at the Cleveland Clinic, including both those who test positive as well as those who tested negative.

The study has already elucidated a number of insights into who is mostly like to contract the disease, including:

  • People who have received the PPSV23 and flu vaccines are less likely to test positive
  • Patients actively taking melatonin, carvedilol, or paroxetine are less likely to test positive
  • Patients of low socioeconomic status are more likely to test positive
  • Patients of Asian descent are less likely than Caucasian patients to test positive

The tool has been deployed in a free online risk calculator available to anyone in the world at: https://riskcalc.org/COVID19/.

Every day, we get news of innovations and research that suggest a major breakthrough in our ability to respond to COVID-19. Honestly, it’s hard for me to decipher the signal from the noise. Which of these will truly make a difference? Which of these advance our intellectual understanding of the pandemic without truly being able to make a difference on-the-ground?

I can’t answer these questions.

But I do I think it’s worth celebrating developments like the Cleveland Clinic’s new model regardless. They represent a strong possibility that we and our loved ones are at less risk of dying from the disease. But beyond that, they further demonstrate humanity’s ability to share knowledge and cooperate in solving our biggest challenges. They showcase the kindness that has so clearly emerged and deepened worldwide in response to this terrible tragedy.


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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

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