Heart attack: A new risk factor has been discovered – thousands of people in UK have it

Covid: ONS data suggests 1 in 50 have virus in the UK

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The Tel Aviv University scientists found that coronavirus proteins could induce heart attacks and stroke. This new research could now lead to finding therapies that will stop damage in the vascular system caused by COVID-19.

The study published in the journal eLife has identified coronavirus proteins that are triggering heart attacks and strokes in patients suffering from the virus.

The researchers expect this breakthrough will help to find new drugs.

The discovery was made by taking a “peek in the virus’s black box”, told Doctor Ben Maoz from Tel Aviv University to The Times of Israel.

The doctor explained that his team looked at all 29 proteins of the Covid virus to determine which of them is linked to the problems in the vascular system.

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Doctor Maoz told the publication: “Coronavirus isn’t the purely respiratory disease we first thought.

“We have identified the proteins that put patients at increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other problems associated with the vascular system.”

The research team identified the five proteins in SARS-CoV-2 that cause vascular problems.

The research has been brought by Doctor Maoz’s lab, which specialises in biomedical engineering and neuroscience, in collaboration with Professor Uri Ashery and other Tel Aviv University researchers.

The team created a simulation of a human vascular system and observed the impact of all the 29 coronavirus proteins.

After the observation, they were able to identify which of these proteins affected the vascular system.

Maoz said: “We have not only discovered which proteins have an impact on the vascular system, but also seen how exactly they exert their effect.

“What we found is these specific proteins make your vasculature more leaky.”

“The tubes become more porous and cannot hold liquid as you would hope,” added doctor Maoz.

The doctor now hopes to lay foundations for a more nuanced treatment of Covid.

Doctor Maoz explained: “To this day the virus has been treated as one entity, despite the fact that it affects different parts of the body in different ways.

“All the evidence shows that the virus severely damages the blood vessels or the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels.”

The doctor hopes that this new research will prove useful in enabling more targeted treatment for the problems on the vascular system induced by COVID-19.

Doctor Maoz told The Israeli Times: “This work could well help scientists to develop drugs to counter the effect of the coronavirus on the vascular system, by providing an understanding of exactly which proteins, or pieces of the virus, are causing problems.”

In case you need reminding, here are the main symptoms of heart attack:

  • Chest pain (the chest can feel like it’s being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object, and pain can radiate from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling weak or lightheaded
  • Overwhelming feeling of anxiety.

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