In patients with serious and long-term COVID-19, disturbed blood coagulation has often been observed.
Scientists from Linköping University found that the body’s immune system can affect the spike protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, leading to the production of a misfolded spike protein called amyloid.
The discovery suggests a possible connection between harmful amyloid production and symptoms of COVID-19.
The research is published in the Journal of American Chemical Society and was conducted by Per Hammarström et al.
In those who have serious and long-term COVID-19, organs other than the lungs can be gravely affected.
Complex symptoms and damage in, for example, the heart, kidneys, eyes, nose, and brain, as well as disturbed blood coagulation, can persist.
In the study, the team found a biological mechanism that has never been described before, and which can be a part of the explanation.
The research team studied illnesses that are caused by misfolded proteins, of which Alzheimer’s disease in the brain is the most well-known example.
They found that there are many similarities between COVID-19-related symptoms and those which are observed in illnesses caused by misfolded proteins.
The researchers wondered whether the virus which causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, contains a protein that can create amyloid.
Using computer simulation, they discovered that the coronavirus’ spike protein contained seven different sequences which potentially could produce amyloid.
Three of the seven sequences met the researchers’ criteria for being counted as amyloid-producing sequences when experimentally tested.
This newly discovered mechanism may lie behind the production of similar micro blood clots that have been observed in both serious and long-term COVID-19.
Disturbed blood coagulation is also seen in many amyloid-related illnesses.
The team says that the spike protein, when affected by our own immune system, can produce amyloid structures, and that this can potentially affect our blood coagulation.
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