A new study has suggested that COVID-19 is not a respiratory illness but a vascular disease. The University of California-San Diego published the research in the Circulation Research journal titled “SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Impairs Endothelial Function via Downregulation of ACE 2.”
This study could shed light on blood clots in some patients and other issues, including “COVID feet,” which are not commonly experienced symptoms of respiratory disease.
According to the researchers, the S protein of the virus, which is the spike that’s forming the crown, attacks the receptor ACE2. This leads to the impairment of the mitochondria, which produces the energy of the cells. Because the mitochondria get impaired, the endothelium, which is lining the blood vessel, likewise gets impaired, The Science Times reported.
COVID-19 falls squarely under vascular disease because it is a condition affecting the vascular system and the body’s network of blood vessels like arteries, veins, and capillaries. Researchers say that the effects on the respiratory system are a result of the vascular tissue’s inflammation in the lungs. According to assistant professor Uri Manor, at the varsity, many people think of it as a respiratory disease, although it is really a vascular illness.
The conclusion came after the experts developed a pseudovirus for the research. Such pseudovirus had S protein, but not the rest of SARS-CoV-2, to show that such a protein is already enough by itself to lead the disease. The latest findings further explain the other problems people experience in other parts of their bodies when they have COVID-19, proving that the deadly virus is not a respiratory illness.
The study results are not surprising as there has been a growing agreement that COVID-19 affects the vascular system. The study only clarified and validated this growing agreement by showing how such protein impairs vascular cells.