Study reveals how COVID-19 affects the lungs worse than the flu

COVID-19 is causing a devastating effect on the whole of mankind. The mechanism by which it causes the death of the people remains unknown, and it is not known clearly. Recent studies state that this virus, unlike other respiratory viruses, not only causes severe pneumonia but also contributes to microvascular thrombosis, which leads to multi-organ failure—this unique feature of COVID-19 results in more death globally.

Researchers examined seven lungs recovered during autopsy from patients who died of COVID-19 and compared with lungs of those people who died of acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to influenza A (H1N1) as well as ten age-matched uninfected control lungs. They found that there were distinct features in the blood vessel of lungs in COVID-19 patients. They observed that the virus damaged the endothelial cell and caused severe injury leading to minute blood clots. The reason behind the clot might be linked to the cytokine storm, which is provoked by the virus. Cytokine storms could cause more damage to the host cell than the virus, thereby causing more inflammation, which puts the threat to disseminated intravascular coagulation. It leads to impairment of gas exchange, ultimately ending in respiratory failure and death.

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Patients undergoing treatment for COVID-19 have shown to have a high level of a protein called D-dimers in the blood, which are left over when the body breaks up the blood clot. This proved that the patient had some kind of thrombosis in the body. These blood clots can be degraded and further form emboli, which are the reason for multi-system failure. As they damage the blood vessels, the symptoms such as discoloration of fingers and toes could be compared with Kawasaki syndrome.

In addition to the above-mentioned, doctors also found that there was significant new vessel growth in COVID-19 patients. In technical terms, it is called intussusceptive angiogenesis. It is said to be 2.7 times more than in patients affected by influenza. This might cause the lungs to get more oxygen to oxygen-starved tissue. Lack of oxygen is a common feature in lungs with any viral diseases, and the generation of new blood vessels in the lungs can also add to the uniqueness of COVID-19.

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Source: MedicineNet

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