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The COVID-19 coronavirus can spread to the brain and heart within days of infection and can persist for months in organs, as per a new study by the National Institutes of Health.
The virus can infect nearly every organ system of the body, and could contribute to the ongoing symptoms observed in “long COVID” patients the study authors wrote. This study is one of the largest studies of the way the virus replicates and persists throughout the human body. It is currently under review to be published in Nature.
“This is a tremendously important piece of work,” Ziyad Aly, MD director of the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, Missouri, , told Bloomberg News. Al-Aly wasn’t involved with this study but has researched the long-term effects of COVID-19.
He said, “For a long while since then, we’ve been scratching and wondering why long COVID seems so to affect multiple organs.” “This paper sheds some light and could help to explain the reason for why COVID can occur even in people who had mild or unasymptomatic acute illness.”
The NIH researchers sampled and analyzed tissues from autopsies taken from 44 patients who died following contracting coronavirus in the initial year of the pandemic. They found persistent virus particles in various areas of the body, including the brain and heart for as long as 230 days after symptoms began. They believe this could be an indication of defective virus particles. This has been observed in persistent infections in measles victims.
Raina MacIntyre PhD, a professor of global security at the University of New South Wales has stated that “We aren’t quite sure what kind of burden from chronic disease will result in years ahead.”
“Will we witness young-onset cardiac failure in those who survived or early-onset dementia?” She said. “These are unanswered questions that call for a precautionary public health approach to reduce the spread.
Bloomberg News reported that unlike other COVID-19 autopsy teams, the NIH team employed a more thorough post-mortem tissue collection procedure. This usually occurred within a few days of the death of the patient. Researchers used a variety of techniques to preserve tissues in order to determine viral levels. The virus was isolated from various tissues, including the lungs, the heart and adrenal glands.
The study authors stated that “our results collectively show SARS-CoV-2 is the most prevalent virus in the airways and lung” and that the virus is able to develop early in the course of the course of infection and infect cells throughout your body, including your brain.
Research Square: “SARS-CoV-2 infection and persistence throughout the human body and the brain.”
Bloomberg News: “Coronavirus Can Persist for Months After Traversing Body.”
Content Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965688?src=rss