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article imageImmune response may contribute to post-COVID-19 blood clots

By Tim Sandle     Apr 2, 2021 in Science
Numerous reports of vascular events after an initial recovery from COVID-19 have led to clinical scientists investigating the impact of COVID-19 on vascular health in relation to recovered patients.
While the coronavirus disease is primarily a respiratory one, a number of autopsy findings, supported by clinical observations, indicate that vascular damages and thrombotic complications can occur in a wide range of organs in relation to more clinically vulnerable people.
A new study suggests that serious complications, such as heart attacks and strokes, that are experienced by some COVID-19 survivors may be caused by a lingering immune response in the blood vessels after recovery from the virus. Researchers from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore have detected several proinflammatory and activated T lymphocyte-associated cytokines which suggest cytokine-driven endothelial dysfunction as the cause of the blood clots.
The findings may help explain why some COVID-19 survivors, so-called ‘long-haulers’, report lasting COVID-19 symptoms or why some experience strokes or heart attacks weeks or months after recovery. They may also suggest potential strategies to help prevent these complications.
The research appears in the journal eLife under the title "Convalescent COVID-19 patients are susceptible to endothelial dysfunction due to persistent immune activation."
In related COVID-19 news, a rare genetic variant has been detected, by scientists at University of Siena, Italy, that puts some younger men ata risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms. Severe symptoms are critical respiratory distress syndrome followed by multiple organ failure. The significance of this finding means men with severe disease could be genetically screened to identify who has the variant and may benefit from interferon treatment.
This research has also been published in eLife, titled "Association of Toll-like receptor 7 variants with life-threatening COVID-19 disease in males: findings from a nested case-control study."
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