COVID attacks DNA in the heart, unlike the flu, study says

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September 30, 2022 – COVID-19 causes DNA damage to the heart and, according to a. affects the body in a very different way than the flu Recent study Published in immunology

The study looked at the hearts of patients who died from COVID-19, the flu and other causes. The results could provide clues as to why the coronavirus has led to complications such as ongoing heart problems.

“We found a lot of DNA damage that is unique to the COVID-19 patients and that was not present in the flu patients,” said Arutha Kulasinghe, one of the lead authors of the study and a research fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia. said the Brisbane Times.

“So in this study, COVID-19 and flu look very different in how they affect the heart,” he said.

Kulasinghe and colleagues analyzed the hearts of seven COVID-19 patients, two flu patients and six patients who died from other causes. They used transcriptome profiling, which looks at an organ’s DNA landscape, to study heart tissue from patients.

Based on previous studies of heart problems related to COVID-19, he and his colleagues expected to find extreme inflammation in the heart. Instead, they found that inflammatory signals were suppressed in the heart and markers of DNA damage and repair were much higher. You are still unsure of the underlying cause.

“The signs here are that there is DNA damage here, it’s not inflammation,” Kulasinghe said. “There’s something else we need to find out.”

The damage is similar to that seen in chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer in the heart, he said, with heart tissue showing DNA damage signals.

Kulasinghe said he hopes other studies can build on the results to develop risk models to understand which patients are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 complications. This, in turn, could help doctors provide early treatment. For example, all seven COVID-19 patients had other chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

“Ideally, in the future, if you have cardiovascular disease, if you’re obese or have other complications, and you have a signature in your blood that suggests you’re at risk for serious disease, then we can can we risk stratify patients when they are diagnosed,” he said.

The research is a preliminary step due to the small sample size, Kulasinghe said. This type of study is often difficult to conduct because researchers have to wait for organs to become available and get family permission for post-mortem autopsies and biopsies to study effects on dead tissue.

“Our challenge now is to draw a clinical conclusion from this, which is not yet possible for us at this stage,” he added. “But it’s a really fundamental biological difference that we’re seeing [between COVID-19 and flu]which we need to validate with larger studies.”



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