SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, attacks the body in a number of ways. One of the most destructive is the way it causes blood clots in arteries, veins and small blood vessels. These attacks on the body are a recipe to strokes, heart attacks on top of that, the reduced blood flow throughout and the lungs which restricts the exchange of oxygen.
Scientist have yet still many things to uncover about the virus but, as research continues, data is released to the public and allow us to have a better grasp of why the virus causes these blood clots
Antibodies are The Key
SARS-CoV-2 can trigger the production of autoimmune antibodies circulating in the blood. These antibodies then attack the blood cells, which form clots in the blood vessels.
Autoantibodies are associated with autoimmune diseases, but outside of SARS-CoV-2 infection, doctors have only seen these clot-causing antibodies in patients with the autoimmune disease antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) . It was a shocking to find COVID-19 patients with similar antibodies to APS
Autoantibodies could be a reason for this vicious cycle of clotting and inflammation making people who were struggling get worse.
People with the highest levels of autoantibodies tend to do worse in terms of respiratory problems and the antibodies cause inflammation even in healthy cells.
Next scientists have to figure out whether extreme cases of COVID-19 on patients with high levels of these antibodies are better off if the antibodies are blocked or removed. If so it could sanction for more aggressive treatments such as plasmapheresis, where blood is drained, filtered and replaced with fresh plasma without the pesky antibodies.
Researchers discovered that about half of the patients who were very sick with COVID-19 showed a combination of high levels of both the dangerous antibodies and neutrophil extracellular traps, normally helpful white blood cells that have become dangerous to healthy cells as well as unwelcome viral invaders.
Best way to lower the risk is to follow the already established recommendations; wear you mask, wash your hands, plenty of exercise and a good diet anything to promote a healthy blood flow. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild and most people are able to recover at home.
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