Scientists find how COVID-19 damages the heart

Credit: Ali Hajiluyi/ Unsplash

In a study from the University of Queensland, scientists have discovered how COVID-19 damages the heart, opening the door to future treatments.

This initial study COVID-19 damaged the DNA in cardiac tissue, which wasn’t detected in influenza samples.

The team says while COVID-19 and influenza are both severe respiratory viruses, they appeared to affect the heart very differently.

In comparison to the 2009 flu pandemic, COVID has led to more severe and long-term heart disease but what was causing that at a molecular level wasn’t known.

In the study, the team couldn’t detect viral particles in the cardiac tissues of COVID-19 patients, but what they found was tissue changes linked to DNA damage and repair.

DNA damage and repair mechanisms foster genomic instability and are related to chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative disorders, so understanding why this is happening in COVID-19 patients is important.

Data associated with the impact of COVID on the heart has previously been limited to blood biomarkers and physiological measurement, as obtaining heart biopsy samples is invasive.

This study was able to get deeper insights using actual cardiac tissues collected during autopsies from seven COVID patients from Brazil, two people who died from influenza and six control patients.

The team says the findings provided insights into how COVID-19 impacted the body compared to other respiratory viruses.

The study has highlighted that the two viruses appear to affect cardiac tissue very differently, which they want to get a better understand of in larger cohort studies.

This study helps understand how COVID-19 affects that heart, and that is the first step in working out what treatments might be best to repair that heart.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about antibodies that block all the COVID-19 variants, and scientists find the cause of ‘brain fog’ in long COVID.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies that CBD from cannabis may inhibit COVID-19, and results showing common asthma drug may help treat COVID-19.

The study was conducted by Dr. Arutha Kulasinghe et al.

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