Prognostic Value of Leukocytosis and Lymphopenia for Coronavirus Disease Severity

Glen Huang; Alex J. Kovalic; Christopher J. Graber


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2020;26(8):1839-1841. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


To evaluate lymphopenia as a marker for coronavirus disease severity, we conducted a meta-analysis of 10 studies. Severe illness was associated with lower lymphocyte and higher leukocyte counts. Using these markers for early identification of patients with severe disease may help healthcare providers prioritize the need to obtain therapy.


The incidence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), has spread rapidly globally; as of March 29, 2020, ≈670,000 cases had been confirmed worldwide.[1] COVID-19 is typically a pulmonary infection that can range from mild illness to acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiple organ failure; however, other symptoms such as myalgias and anorexia have been noted.[2] Although many ongoing studies are investigating measurement of proinflammatory cytokines and other biomarkers as a way to prognosticate infection severity, we investigated use of 2 easily obtained predictors: lymphopenia and leukocytosis.[3]