Researchers anticipate a surge in chronic kidney disease and kidney failure post-COVID-19

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School will be a clinical test site for a study assessing the long term risk of chronic kidney disease in patients who recover from COVID-19.

The Multi-Center Assessment of Survivors for Kidney Disease after COVID-19 (MASKeD-COVID) study – conducted by the Division of Nephrology at Mount Sinai – will assess risk in up to 4,000 patients who have recovered from COVID-19 using the artificial-intelligence diagnostic system KidneyIntelX that can incorporate novel protein biomarkers and provide insight into the disease.

Researchers will also study patients’ COVID-19 antibody levels over time, which will provide insights into the interaction between immune response and kidney-related complications. Initial research findings are expected to be reported in early 2021.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is believed to result in acute kidney injury in many ways, including severe inflammation, damage to the thin layer of cells that line blood vessels, clots in small blood vessels and possibly direct invasion of the virus into kidney cells that are responsible for filtration of the blood.

As of the second week of September 2020, more than 389,000 Americans have been hospitalized for COVID-19. Approximately 20 percent  to 45 percent of those patients — and more than 60 percent of those admitted to the ICU for COVID-19 — have acute kidney injury. Of these, about 25 percent to 45 percent require acute dialysis.

“Emerging evidence suggests that patients who survive COVID-19 will experience a significant increased risk of kidney disease. There are many questions that still need to be answered regarding COVID-19 and kidney disease, such as whether there are any protein biomarkers that could predict if recovered patients will develop chronic kidney disease as a long-term outcome of COVID-19,” said Hong Li, the study’s principal investigator at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “Our team at the Rutgers Center for Advanced Proteomics Research will use state-of-the-art proteomics technologies to identify and validate potential novel protein biomarkers in patient urine samples. By integrating these protein data with other data from partner institutions, scientists at Mount Sinai Division of Nephrology will use artificial intelligence to assess the longitudinal progression and treatments of kidney disease in COVID-19 patients.”