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Scientists uncover why the COVID spike protein causes heart damage

In a preliminary study, scientists believe that they have discovered the reason heart disease is so common in patients with COVID-19.

New research has shown that the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus spike proteins can cause heart muscle injury via the inflammation process. This sets it apart from other coronaviruses.

The good news? Initial research indicates that vaccination can reduce the damage done by this process.

In 2020, research found abnormalities in the way the heart pumps in 55% hospitalized patients. Around one in seven of these cases showed evidence of severe dysfunction.

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Dr Zhiqiang Lin said, “It is already known from the clinic that COVID-19 infection may induce heart injury. However, we don’t yet know the mechanistic details of this.”

“What we suspect, is that the spike proteins have unknown pathological functions,” said Dr Lin, the study’s principal author, and assistant professor at Masonic Medical Research Institute, Utica, New York.

“Our data shows that SARS-CoV-2 spike protein causes damage to heart muscle. This is why it’s so important to get vaccinated to prevent this disease,” Dr Lin added.

More information on Covid-19

Natural immunity is the first line of defense against the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Heart muscle cells have their own immune system, but COVID-19 infections can cause immune dysfunction that could lead to heart failure and cell death. Dr Lin stated that the immune response may also affect heart muscle cell function.

The researchers also studied HCoV–NL63, a coronavirus that has a similar spike protein. This binds to ACE2 and aids in virus entry.

However, unlike SARS-CoV-2 and NL63 spike proteins, the NL63 protein does not trigger the immune response in the heart muscle cells that can cause so much harm to the organ.

Continue reading:

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Dr Lin stated that “the fact that the SARS CoV-2 spike protein activates the natural immune reaction may explain the high virality compared to other coronaviruses.”

The researchers discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein increased the size of heart muscle cells in laboratory tests.

Dr Lin stated that “we found direct evidence” that the SARS/CoV-2 spike protein was toxic to heart muscle cells.

Researchers warn that not all mechanisms that cause virus damage have been identified and that more questions need to be asked.

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