The differentiation between influenza and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) could constitute a diagnostic challenge during the ongoing winter owing to their clinical similitude. Thus, novel biomarkers are required to enable making this distinction. Here, we evaluated whether the surfactant protein D (SP-D), a collectin produced at the alveolar epithelium with known immune properties, was useful to differentiate pandemic influenza A(H1N1) from COVID-19 in critically ill patients. Our results revealed high serum SP-D levels in patients with severe pandemic influenza but not those with COVID-19. This finding was validated in a separate cohort of mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19 who also showed low plasma SP-D levels. However, plasma SP-D levels did not distinguish seasonal influenza from COVID-19 in mild-to-moderate disease. Finally, we found that high serum SP-D levels were associated with death and renal failure among severe pandemic influenza cases. Thus, our studies have identified SP-D as a unique biomarker expressed during severe pandemic influenza but not COVID-19.
- acute respiratory distress syndrome
- influenza A(H1N1)pdm09
- surfactant protein D