January 14, 2022

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The discovery of the first evidence of inflammatory micro-clots in the blood of long-term Covid patients

Scientists have indicated that long-term Covid-19 may be caused by an increase in small clots “trapped” within the blood of individuals weeks after the initial infection has cleared.

The small study found that patients with long-term COVID-19 had a large amount of inflammatory molecules trapped in their bloodstream.

Meaning that an overload of different inflammatory molecules, literally “trapped” within insoluble microscopic blood clots (microcoagulants), may be the cause of some of the chronic symptoms experienced by people with long-term COVID-19 or one of many contributing factors.

Scientists explained that these barriers have the potential to disrupt the body’s ability to distribute oxygen and vital nutrients.

The most common symptoms of long-term COVID-19 include fatigue, headache and difficulty breathing.

The unexpected discovery was made by Professor Rescia Pretorius, a researcher in the Department of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) in South Africa, when she began investigating micro-clots and their molecular content in blood samples from individuals with long-standing COVID-19.

Professor Pretorius compared blood collected from 11 people with long-term COVID-19 and 13 healthy controls.

“We found high levels of various inflammatory molecules trapped in micro-clots present in the blood of individuals with long-term COVID-19,” she said.

Some of the trapped molecules contain coagulation proteins such as fibrinogen, as well as Alpha (2)-antiplasmin.
The discovery of the first evidence of inflammatory micro-clots in the blood of long-term Covid patients

Resia Pretorius

Fibrinogen is a protein in the blood that helps the body form clots to stop bleeding. Alpha(2) antiplasmin is known as a molecule that helps prevent blood clots from breaking down.

Under normal circumstances, the body maintains a balance of clotting and anticoagulant substances to help the body reduce blood loss after an injury. This also prevents clots from growing too large and limits the flow of oxygen.

Prof. Pretorius said large amounts of alpha-2 antiplasmin suspended in the blood meant that the body’s ability to break down clots was severely reduced. What caused the emergence of a long-term Covid disease, which has puzzled scientists since noticing this phenomenon.

But other recent studies have also indicated that the body’s blood clotting system could be involved.

A study from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland showed that clotting markers rose among those with long-term Covid disease months after the initial infection.

And “Covid-19” itself has been associated with coagulation disorders during the initial infection, which may be fatal in some cases.

It is noteworthy that “prolonged Covid” is an umbrella term that includes symptoms that last for more than a month and are not well understood.

Professor Pretorius said more research is needed to confirm her findings, with a larger sample size.

It also recommended further research on the type of treatment needed to support the clotting system of long-term COVID patients.

Pretorius and colleagues’ detailed findings are published in the medical journal Cardiovascular Diabetology.