Scientists have flagged yet another way in which Covid-19 can affect the body: It causes changes in blood platelets that can, in some patients, contribute to the onset of heart attacks, strokes, and other serious complications.
University of Utah Health researchers found that inflammatory proteins produced during infection significantly alter the function of platelets, making them “hyperactive” and more prone to form dangerous and potentially deadly blood clots.
In their paper published in Blood, an American Society of Hematology journal, the researchers describe a study of 41 Covid-19 patients at University of Utah Hospital. They compared blood from these patients with samples taken from healthy individuals matched for age and sex.
Using differential gene analysis, the researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 appears to trigger genetic changes in platelets. The researchers did not, however, detect evidence of the virus in the vast majority of platelets. This suggested that it could be promoting the genetic changes within these cells indirectly.
Source: University of Utah Health
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