As per a recent study, the virus that generates COVID-19 can move to a patient’s heart and brain days following contamination and live for weeks or more in organs, providing insights on the “long COVID.”
According to Bloomberg News, researchers from the US National Institutes of Health in Maryland investigated samples from 44 persons who deceased after catching the disease in the initial year of the outbreak in the US.
As per the news source, they identified SARS-CoV-2 RNA in numerous regions of the body — such as the heart and brain — for up to 230 days after the commencement of illness.
“This paper sheds some light, and may help explain why long COVID can occur even in people who had mild or asymptomatic acute disease. Our results collectively show that while the highest burden of SARS-CoV-2 is in the airways and lung, the virus can disseminate early during infection and infect cells throughout the entire body, including widely throughout the brain,” declared the team of scientists.
The NIH researchers speculated that lung infection could lead to an initial “viremic” phase, wherein the virus is found in the bloodstream all over the body.
The results back with prior work that showed the virus damages heart muscle cells immediately and leaves survivors with cognitive problems.
According to the source, the virus was found in the brains of all 6 people who deceased more than a month after exhibiting symptoms, as well as in most locations examined in the brains of 5 more, one of whom died 230 days afterward exhibiting symptoms.
“It can help us understand the neurocognitive decline or ‘brain fog’ and other neuropsychiatric manifestations of long Covid. We need to start thinking of SARS-CoV-2 as a systemic virus that may clear in some people, but in others may persist for weeks or months and produce long Covid — a multifaceted systemic disorder,” declared Ziyad Al-Aly.