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article imageIs there a connection between coronavirus and strokes?

By Tim Sandle     Apr 29, 2020 in Science
As each week progresses, more science news about the coronavirus appears. The latest round-up from Digital Journal looks at the link between COVID-19 and stroke and the way the virus attacks immune cells.
At present, we do not know how many people globally have been infected by the pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2. It is established that virus can cause a wide range of symptoms, and infections may be asymptomatic in many people. It also stands that new items of research are emerging, and some of the key examples of this are referenced below.
Coronavirus and strokes
New research from China shows that strokes are common among patients with the more serious cases of COVID-19. The data shows that around 36 percent of coronavirus infected patients have experienced neurological symptoms.
At this stage this is an association. It is not established if coronavirus is a direct instigator of strokes (as well as any other neurological issues). However, the association does indicate a clinical connection associated with a stroke, which is an area for further examination.
Coronavirus attacks immune cells like HIV
A consortium of U.S. and Chinese scientists suggest that the coronavirus SRARS-CoV-2 can destroy T cells (the lymphocyte that is essential to the body’s immune system, in terms of detecting pathogens). The way that these cells are destroyed is carried out in a similar way to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
The attack mechanism may relate to the spike protein found on the coronavirus (where the name ‘corona’ comes from). These proteins link the virus and T cell on contact, providing a bridge for the coronavirus to enter the T cell. Inside the cell, the virus can deactivate its normal pathogen-fighting functions.
Why do more men than women die from coronavirus?
Trends across the global indicate the more men are dying from COVID-19 compared with women.
While the actual reason has not been demonstrated, some researchers argue that women tend to have stronger immune responses than men. This could be because women have two X chromosomes, and this is the chromosome that contains most of the genes related to the immune system.
A second wave of infections?
A paper published in the medical journal Lancet has warned about a second wave of infections, should the social distancing and lockdown rules be relaxed too early. Researchers modelled the potential adverse consequences of premature relaxation of interventions, and found that such a decision might lead to transmissibility rising and triggering a second wave of infections.
More about coronavirus, HIV, Covid19, Immunology
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