Coronavirus attacks lining of blood vessels all over the body, Swiss study finds

University Hospital Zurich
University Hospital Zurich

According to a new study published in The Lancet on Friday, not only the lungs but the blood vessel linings all over the body are also attacked by the novel coronavirus.

Frank Ruschitzka from University Hospital Zurich said that it attacks the endothelium, a layer of cells that acts as a protective shield or defense line for all blood vessels.

“It brings your own defense down and causes problems in microcirculation,” said Ruschitzka. Microcirculation refers to circulation in all the blood vessels. He added that the novel coronavirus causes a reduction in the blood flow to various parts of the body, which eventually stops the circulation of blood.

“It can affect nearly any organ”, said Ruschitzka.

He further stated that this might be the reason why smokers, people with weak endothelial functions or unhealthy blood vessels are prone to contracting the virus.

According to the study, COVID-19 patients showed viral elements inside their endothelial cells and inflammatory cells in their major organs. Researchers also recommended the strengthening of vascular health and therapies to stabilize the endothelium. 

He further added that although the conclusion was based on the reports of 3 coronavirus patients, autopsies of other patients showed similar results and impairment of other organs.