Coronavirus Could Be a Blood Vessel Disease

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Sarah Peddie

A report from The Lancet has suggested that the coronavirus may be a blood vessel disease - as well as a respiratory infection. 

Endothelial cells are at the centre of focus in the study. These are cells that form a barrier between blood vessels and organ tissue and control the transmission of fluids between the two.

The study shows that endothelial cells are involved in a lot of health problems associated with the coronavirus. 

Multiple patients with Covid-19 were observed for the study. A 71-year-old man who had a kidney transplant was one patient who was observed. The man died of multisystem organ failure after being diagnosed with Covid-19. An analysis of his transplanted kidney found viral inclusion structures in his endothelial cells. Inflammatory cells associated with endothelial cells were also found in his heart, small bowel and lungs. 

Another patient - a 58-year-old obese woman with diabetes and arterial hypertension suffered multi-organ failure and then died of a cardiac arrest. It was then discovered that there were "lymphocytic endotheliitis in lung, heart, kidney, and liver as well as liver cell necrosis."

Before the study was published, scientists were confused as to why blood clots were a common symptom of the coronavirus. Confusion was also spread by the fact that blood thinners did not seem to prevent clots and patients would die of strokes caused by brain blockages. 

Last month, the BBC reported that up to 30 percent of patients who were very ill with Covid-19 developed dangerous blood clots.

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