June 3, 2020
The virus that causes COVID-19 is named for its attack on the respiratory system.
But as doctors continue to report high rates of blood clots, strokes, brain swelling and heart problems in their coronavirus patients, researchers have been increasingly suspicious the infection is more than a respiratory disease, but stumped for an explanation.
One study, published in April, may have found the skeleton key to the bizarre and disparate symptoms striking coronavirus sufferers: a lining of the blood vessels, called the endothelium.
Researchers in Switzerland found the virus attacks cells that line blood vessels – which may explain persistent clotting and the failure of organs that aren’t normally involved in respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.
Many coronavirus patients die not of lung failure, but of blood clots.
In the US, some doctors report as many as 40 percent of their coronavirus patients were developing blood clots.
Clotting became such a common and significant concern that doctors started putting people admitted for coronavirus on blood thinners as a matter of course.
But even on the clot-busting medications, the complication often persists.
That’s been a baffling phenomenon for doctors and researchers, and one not seen in other coronaviruses, like those that cause the common cold, or the SARS virus that caused epidemics in 2002 and 2003, or even in severe flu patients, like those suffering from H1N1.
This article was posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 4:27 am