Israeli scientists have identified the virus proteins that are triggering strokes and heart attacks in COVID-19 patients, in a breakthrough they expect will pave the way for new drugs.
The scientists made the discovery by taking a “peek in the virus’s black box,” Dr. Ben Maoz of Tel Aviv University told The Times of Israel, explaining that his team analyzed all 29 proteins of the virus to figure out which of them are wreaking havoc in the vascular system.
“Coronavirus isn’t the purely respiratory disease we first thought, and we have identified the proteins that put patients at increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other problems associated with the vascular system,” Maoz said.
He identified the five proteins in SARS-CoV-2 that lead to vascular problems in the peer-reviewed journal eLife.
“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,” said Maoz.
“We have not only discovered which proteins have an impact on the vascular system, but also seen how exactly they exert their effect,” said Maoz. “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. This information is also valuable in efforts to develop drugs.”
Maoz hopes to lay foundations for a more nuanced treatment of coronavirus.
“All the evidence shows that the virus severely damages the blood vessels or the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. I hope that our research will prove useful in enabling more targeted treatment.”
Originally posted at vfinews.com