How Covid-19 makes blood cells hyperactive

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The new coronavirus disrupts blood platelets, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and other serious complications in some patients, according to scientists at the University of Utah Health.

Over the months, the researchers unravel the mysteries of Covid-19. Transmission, contagion, symptoms, the enemy begins to reveal itself. Affected by this new form of coronavirus, some patients develop other pathologies. A correlation that science is trying to understand better. Researchers at Utah Health University say changes in blood platelets caused by Covid-19 could lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other serious complications in some patients with the disease.

In fact, the scientific team found that the inflammatory proteins produced during infection significantly alter platelet function, making them "hyperactive" and more likely to form dangerous and potentially fatal blood clots for patients. These findings will be published in Blood, a journal of the American Society of Hematology.

"Our discovery adds an important piece to the Covid-19 puzzle," said Robert A. Campbell, Ph.D., lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the department of internal medicine. "We have found that inflammation and systemic changes, due to infection, affect platelet function, causing them to regroup more quickly, which may explain why we are seeing an increase in the number of blood clots in Covid patients. " This better understanding could allow establishing specific treatments to avoid the appearance of these diseases as much as possible.

Aspirin as a remedy?

To arrive at these results, the researchers studied the records of 41 patients hospitalized at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, 17 of these patients were in the intensive care unit, 9 of whom were ventilated. They compared the blood of these patients with samples taken from healthy individuals. They discovered that the virus that triggers Sars-CoV-2 also appears to cause genetic changes in blood platelets. In fact, they found that Covid-19 platelets clumped more easily. They also noted that these changes have dramatically changed the way platelets interact with the immune system, possibly contributing to inflammation in the airways and possibly leading to more serious lung damage.

In this first test tube study, researchers found that aspirin prevents this hyperactivity. Results to be confirmed with other clinical studies. At the moment, taking aspirin is not recommended for patients with signs of Covid-19.

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