Background The value of the soluble receptor for advanced glycation end-products (sRAGE) as a biomarker in COVID-19 is not well understood. We tested the association between plasma sRAGE and illness severity, viral burden, and clinical outcomes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who were not mechanically ventilated.Methods Baseline sRAGE was measured among participants enrolled in the ACTIV-3/TICO trial of bamlanivimab for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Spearman’s rank correlation was used to assess the relationship between sRAGE and other plasma biomarkers, including viral nucleocapsid antigen. Fine-Gray models adjusted for baseline supplemental oxygen requirement, antigen level, positive endogenous anti-nucleocapsid antibody response, sex, age, BMI, diabetes mellitus, renal impairment, corticosteroid treatment, and log2-transformed IL-6 level were used to assess the association between baseline sRAGE and time to sustained recovery. Cox regression adjusted for the same factors was used to assess the association between sRAGE and mortality.Results Among 277 participants, baseline sRAGE was strongly correlated with viral plasma antigen concentration (ρ = 0.57). There was a weaker correlation between sRAGE and biomarkers of systemic inflammation, such as IL-6 (ρ = 0.36) and CRP (ρ = 0.20). Participants with plasma sRAGE in the highest quartile had a significantly lower rate of sustained recovery (adjusted recovery rate ratio, 0.64 [95% CI, 0.43–0.90]) and a higher unadjusted risk of death (HR, 4.70 [95% CI, 2.01–10.99]) compared with participants in the lower quartiles.Conclusion Elevated plasma sRAGE in hospitalized, nonventilated patients with COVID-19 was an indicator of both clinical illness severity and plasma viral load. Plasma sRAGE in the highest quartile was associated with a lower likelihood of sustained recovery and higher unadjusted risk of death. These findings, which we believe to be novel, indicate that plasma sRAGE may be a promising biomarker for COVID-19 prognostication and clinical trial enrichment.Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04501978.Funding NIH (5T32GM008440-24, 18X107CF6, HHSN261201500003I, R35HL140026, and OT2HL156812).
Katherine D. Wick, Lianne Siegel, James D. Neaton, Cathryn Oldmixon, Jens Lundgren, Robin L. Dewar, H. Clifford Lane, B. Taylor Thompson, Michael A. Matthay, on behalf of the ACTIV-3/TICO study group