Albumin Binds COVID-19 Spike 1 Subunit and Predicts In-Hospital Survival of Infected Patients—Possible Alteration by Glucose

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(1) Background: This study aimed to analyze if the serum albumin levels of hospitalized SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) patients on admission could predict <30 days in-hospital all-cause mortality, and if glucose levels on admission affected this predictive ability. (2) Methods: A multicenter retrospective cohort of 1555 COVID-19-infected adult patients from public hospitals of the Madrid community were analyzed. (3) Results: Logistic regression analysis showed increased mortality for ages higher than 49 y. After adjusting for age, comorbidities and on-admission glucose levels, it was found that on-admission serum albumin ≥3.5 g/dL was significantly associated with reduced mortality (OR 0.48; 95%CI:0.36–0.62). There was an inverse concentration-dependent association between on-admission albumin levels and <30 days in-hospital all-cause mortality. However, when on-admission glucose levels were above 125 mg/dL, higher levels of serum albumin were needed to reach an association with survival. In vitro experiments showed that the spike protein S1 subunit of SARS-CoV-2 binds to native albumin. The binding ability of native albumin to the spike protein S1 subunit was decreased in the presence of an increasing concentration of glycated albumin. (4) Conclusions: On-admission serum albumin levels were inversely associated with <30 days in-hospital all-cause mortality. Native albumin binds the spike protein S1 subunit, suggesting that native albumin may act as a scavenger of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.