Major structural changes in lungs could explain long Covid, say scientists

Major structural changes in lungs could explain long Covid say scientists

Researchers have found that a subset of COVID-19 patients who recover faster have a persistent antibody response against the novel coronavirus, an advance which sheds more light on the functioning of the immune system and may aid in the development of vaccines against the disease. They were: (i) common cold-like symptoms (with a dry throat, nasal congestion, rhinitis, and sneezing); (ii) flu-like symptoms (with chills, cough, fatigue, and fever); (iii) eye and mucosal inflammation; (iv) lung problems (with shortness of breath and pneumonia); (v) gastrointestinal problems (including diarrhea, headache, and nausea); (vi) joint and muscle pain; and (vii) loss of sense of smell and taste and other symptoms. "This means that we were able to clearly distinguish systemic (e.g., groups 1 and 3) from organ-specific forms (e.g. groups 6 and 7) of primary COVID-19 disease", explained Pickl.

In the research, the scientists recruited and enrolled 92 people in the Boston area in the United States who had recovered from COVID-19 between March and June of 2020.

The virus that causes Covid-19 is accumulating genetic mutations, one of which may have made it more contagious, says a study involving more than 5,000 patients in the US.

The research team analysed samples of tissue from the lungs, heart, liver and kidneys of 41 patients who died of COVID-19 at Italy's University Hospital of Trieste between February and April 2020. Second, several lung cells were abnormally large and had many nuclei, resulting from the fusion of different cells into single large cells.

It is in the spike proteins that the mutation D614G occurred, making it easier for the virus to attach itself to the receptor cells.

Scientists presenting the results of 100 unhospitalized COVID-19 patients in the United Kingdom said they were "comforting" but did not mean that in rare cases, people can not become infected twice with the disease.

The researchers also found what they describe as a "long-term persistence" of the viral DNA in respiratory cells and in cells lining the blood vessels.

Professor Mauro Giacca, at the British Heart Foundation Centre at King's College London, said: "These findings are very exciting".

COVID-19 is caused by the virus using spike proteins to latch on to human receptor cells, using them as a host through which to multiply.

The researchers are now testing the effect of these abnormal cells on blood clotting and inflammation while looking for new drugs that can block the viral spike protein which causes cells to fuse.

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