A Blog by Jonathan Low


May 31, 2020

Covid-19 May Be A Blood Vessel Disease. Which May Hasten A Cure

If, as doctors and researchers are tentatively beginning to believe, Covid-19 is a cardiovascular rather than respiratory ailment, treatment may respond more quickly to existing medications and an eventual vaccine could have a different basis than the ones currently being tested.

The good news is that this knowledge could hasten an eventual cure because of the drugs and treatment protocols already available. JL

Dana Smith reports in Medium:

 Blood clots emerged as one of the many mysterious symptoms attributed to Covid-19, a disease initially thought to largely affect the lungs. Quickly after came reports of young people dying due to coronavirus-related strokes. Next it was Covid toes. What do all of these symptoms have in common? An impairment in blood circulation. Add that 40% of deaths from Covid-19 are related to cardiovascular complications, and the disease starts to look like a vascular infection instead of a purely respiratory one. "Maybe the best therapy is not antiviral. We’re building a drastically different concept.”
A respiratory virus infecting blood cells and circulating through the body is virtually unheard of.

A one-of-a-kind respiratory virus

SARS-CoV-2 is thought to enter the body through ACE2 receptors present on the surface of cells that line the respiratory tract in the nose and throat. Once in the lungs, the virus appears to move from the alveoli, the air sacs in the lung, into the blood vessels, which are also rich in ACE2 receptors.

Endothelial damage could explain the virus’ weird symptoms

An infection of the blood vessels would explain many of the weird tendencies of the novel coronavirus, like the high rates of blood clots. Endothelial cells help regulate clot formation by sending out proteins that turn the coagulation system on or off. The cells also help ensure that blood flows smoothly and doesn’t get caught on any rough edges on the blood vessel walls.
In another paper that looked at nearly 9,000 people with Covid-19, Mehra showed that the use of statins and ACE inhibitors were linked to higher rates of survival.

If Covid-19 is a vascular disease, the best antiviral therapy might not be antiviral therapy

An alternative theory is that the blood clotting and symptoms in other organs are caused by inflammation in the body due to an over-reactive immune response — the so-called cytokine storm. This inflammatory reaction can occur in other respiratory illnesses and severe cases of pneumonia, which is why the initial reports of blood clots, heart complications, and neurological symptoms didn’t sound the alarm bells. However, the magnitude of the problems seen with Covid-19 appear to go beyond the inflammation experienced in other respiratory infections.


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