Scientists find how COVID-19 affects the colon

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In a study from MedUni Vienna, scientists analyzed the manifestations of COVID-19 in the lungs and colon and pinpointed the differences at a molecular level.

Although SARS-CoV-2 infections mainly attack the lungs, in many cases they can also damage other organs, such as the colon: about 60% of patients experienced digestive tract impacts.

Their findings form the basis for the identification of novel biomarkers and the development of new treatment strategies.

In the study, the team examined the impact of COVID-19 on the lungs and other organs.

Using complex dataset analyses, the researchers recognized that a different molecular mechanism is at work in pulmonary and gastrointestinal manifestations.

While SARS-CoV-2 infections of the lungs evoke classic immune system responses, in the gastrointestinal tract they evoke responses related to liver and lipid metabolism.

The fact that COVID-19 infections not only manifest in the lungs but frequently also manifest in other organs, such as the heart, kidneys, skin, or gut, can be attributed to the particular structure of the virus.

During the course of COVID-19, up to 60% of patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms, which may be associated with a longer duration of disease and/or a worse outcome.

The results of this study will add to the understanding of the organ- and tissue-specific molecular processes triggered by SARS-CoV-2.

The team suggests that these findings can advance the identification of new biomarkers and treatment strategies for COVID-19, taking account of the specific responses in manifestations outside the lung.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about vitamin D deficiency linked to severe COVID-19 and death, and why diabetes is a big risk factor for severe COVID-19.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about people who have less severe COVID-19 infections, and results showing people with mild COVID-19 should use the antiviral drug.

The study was conducted by Diana Mechtcheriakova et al and published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

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