How Sick Will COVID-19 Patients Get? A Novel Diagnostic Test

Virginia-based AMPEL BioSolutions’ Technology Predicts Severity
of Illness in COVID-19 Patients

Recent research by AMPEL BioSolutions is primed to improve outcomes for individuals with COVID-19.  Published in bioRxiv as a preprint, the study analyzed gene expression in the blood, airway and lung tissue of infected patients. The paper finds that a blood test can successfully indicate the severity of a patient’s response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) infection, thereby paving the way for timelier, more effective treatments. 

How AMPEL’s CovGENETM Test Works


AMPEL’s bioinformatics tools extract transcriptomic (set of RNA transcripts) data from a patient’s blood, and analyze that sample for a set of genetic markers. The results give treating physicians a greater understanding of an individual’s current inflammatory response to SARS-CoV2 infection.

A major cause of morbidity in COVID-19 patients is the hyper-inflammatory state called “cytokine storm.” This innovative diagnostics measures elevated or reduced expressions of certain immune response pathways, which can indicate the severity of the disease as well as its progression. This test contributes to a comprehensive picture of a patient’s prognosis and leads to better-informed treatment options.


After a medical team has a better understanding of a patient’s inflammatory response, it’s time for therapeutic interventions. AMPEL’s CovGENETM approach identifies existing FDA-approved drugs that could be repositioned, or repurposed, to interfere with cytokine storms, macrophage activation, and other mechanisms that lead to severe lung damage.

A Major Step Forward in COVID-19 Treatment

Researchers and doctors are still trying to understand why some COVID-19 patients exhibit only mild symptoms while others experience a very rapid decline. Indeed, the host response to SARS-CoV2 is highly variable. Now with a technology that quickly identifies the progression of lung damage and then recommends targeted therapies, healthcare providers have another tool with which to fight the novel coronavirus.

“Having a precise way to identify the specific lung-damaging process in each individual is an important breakthrough that greatly improves outcomes in SARS-CoV2 infections,” said Dr. Peter Lipsky, CEO of AMPEL BioSolutions.

Precise Personalized Medicine through Genomics: Harnessing Big Data to Improve Healthcare

About AMPEL BioSolutions

Started in 2013,  AMPEL BioSolutions LLC is a precision medicine company with a proprietary genomic platform, tools and machine learning algorithms. One of AMPEL’s most significant technologies is LuGENE®, a gene-based diagnostic for lupus to determine disease status, predict flares, and match patients with the best drug options. 

When the novel coronavirus became a global pandemic, AMPEL BioSolutions quickly reengineered LuGENE® for COVID-19 diagnostics and treatment. Understanding the urgency for this type of test, CovGENETM was ready in just five weeks.

Currently, there are a number of FDA-approved drugs being tested in clinical trials to treat the damaging inflammatory response experienced by seriously ill COVID19 patients, including kinase inhibitors such as Baricitinib (JAK inhibitor), Ibrutinib (BTK inhibitor), Duvelisib (PI3K), Ozanimod (S1PR) as well as biologics targeting cytokines such as Tocilizumab (IL6 inhibitor) and Canakinumab (IL1 inhibitor).  AMPEL’s approach has identified additional FDA-approved drugs that could be repositioned for COVID19 patients including biologics targeting TNF (ten on market including Embrel/Etanercept) and IL12/23 (Stekara/Ustekinumab). 

AMPEL BioSolutions, a privately held company led by co-founders Drs. Amrie Grammer and Peter Lipsky, works with pharmaceutical companies to quickly and safety bring life-saving medication from bench to bedside. Proceeds from clinical trial design and management, as well as investor funding, will fuel R&D for future gene-based disease diagnostics.

Partnership Opportunities

AMPEL seeks to connect with existing gene-based diagnostic companies and data validation partners — university medical centers, research hospitals, etc. — looking to license the CovGENETM technology.

For more information, please fill out the form below. You can also call (434) 296-AMPL (2675) or email us at


Phone: 434-296-2675 (AMPL)
Fax: 434-566-0109
250 West Main Street, Suite 300 Charlottesville, Virginia 22902