As India currently witnesses a constantly rising COVID-19 related deaths due to development of severe respiratory illness, early detection of such risks has been proved quite supportive in managing critically ill patients.
While the interleukin 6 (IL-6) tests found to be more reliable in tracking the risk of forthcoming respiratory failure much earlier, Roche Diagnostics’ recently launched high throughput Elecsys IL6 test offers Indian clinicians a new hope.
IL-6, released by immune cells when they are activated by virus, bacteria or other immune cells, acts as a messenger to activate other immune cells to fight the infection. While, it helps physicians to identify severely ill patients as early as possible because this protein is released so early during severe infection.
“The IL-6 levels can help in tracking patients with a high risk of forthcoming respiratory failure and a testing strategy to detect IL-6 will help facilitate early detection and timely treatment initiation,” says Dr V Ramasubramanian, Infectious Diseases Specialist, Apollo Hospitals Chennai.
This is more important at the current scenario as the number of cases in India is on a steady rise, though we see a high recovery and a comparatively lower mortality rate at present, he said.
“With an already burdened public healthcare system, it is imperative to evaluate solutions that can facilitate timely treatment to critically ill patients,” added Dr Ramasubramanian.
The IL6 test can support physicians, in combination with other examinations and vital signs, to decide early on about treatment management for severe respiratory illness. The levels of IL-6 also helps identify patients who might be at high risk of disease progression.
According to Dr Sandeep Sewlikar, Medical and Scientific Affairs Head at Roche Diagnostics India, IL-6 biomarker plays the role of early indicator for acute inflammation in the management of critically ill patients.
“Hospitals and laboratories can run the Elecsys IL-6 test on Roche’s cobas e analysers which are available in around 500 cities across India. These fully automated systems can provide test results in approximately 18 minutes, with a test throughput of up to 300 tests/hour, depending on the analyser,” Dr Sewlikar added.
The IL-6 immunoassay is an in vitro diagnostic test for the quantitative determination of IL-6 (interleukin-6) in human serum or plasma. This assay, which is currently used to aid in the management of critically ill patients, as an early indicator for acute inflammation, can also be used to assist in identifying severe inflammatory response in patients to aid in determining the risk of intubation with mechanical ventilation. This is often done in conjunction with clinical findings and the results of other laboratory testing.