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Study: What an eye-opener can reveal about Long Covid


Antibodies against endogenous structures are found in some people suffering from Long Covid. According to one study, this is associated with poorer blood flow to the retina - the result could be important for treatment.

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Focus on the eye at Long Covid

Photo: Tetra Images / Getty Images

What exactly leads to the fact that some of those infected with corona subsequently develop Long Covid and which therapy can then help them: This is one of the most urgent research questions relating to the corona pandemic.

A team led by Bettina Hohberger from the University Hospital Erlangen reports on an interesting finding in this context.

The group was able to prove that the blood flow in the retina is disturbed in some of those affected by Long-Covid.

The team theorizes that the reduced blood flow in the eye reflects a disorder in the smaller vessels throughout the body.

The authors report in the "International Journal of Molecular Sciences" on the study of 42 long-Covid patients and six healthy control subjects.

Only long-Covid sufferers in whom so-called autoantibodies against G protein-coupled receptors were detectable could take part in the study.

The result therefore only says something about this subgroup of Long Covid sufferers.

Because experts assume that there are various causes of Long Covid, in addition to autoantibodies, there is also discussion, for example, that viruses or virus components that remain in the body could trigger the symptoms of some of those affected.

In addition, people in whom the Covid 19 disease has left damage to their organs also have Long Covid.

The most common symptoms of those affected by long-Covid in the study were brain fog, from which three quarters suffered, exhaustion, which affected around two-thirds, and cardiovascular problems such as tachycardia or high blood pressure - a good 60 percent had them.

Conceivable as a long Covid trigger

Blood flow in the retina was measured using so-called OCT angiography.

It was shown that the blood flow in those suffering from Long Covid was reduced compared to the healthy participants.

According to the study, this was more pronounced in women than in men.

How autoantibodies and blood circulation are related is still unclear.

“It is possible that the autoantibodies change the blood cells or the blood vessels, which could explain the restricted microcirculation and can lead to an undersupply of oxygen,” said Hohberger in a press release at the start of the research project.

Disturbed blood circulation in the finest blood vessels throughout the body is "conceivable as a trigger for the long-Covid symptoms described so far," says the doctor.

The result confirms earlier research results from the University Hospital Erlangen.

In four healing attempts, doctors administered the active ingredient BC 007 to long-Covid patients.

The Berlin Cures company originally developed the drug to treat cardiac insufficiency;

it neutralizes those autoantibodies against G protein-coupled receptors that are present in some of the long-Covid cases.

In the first healing attempt, the team was not only able to measure that the blood flow through the fine retinal vessels improved again.

The patients’ distressing long-Covid symptoms also decreased.

The result raised many hopes.

However, the necessary larger studies in which BC 007 is tested are still pending.

It is conceivable that other methods can also remove the autoantibodies or render them harmless - which also still needs to be researched in studies.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-07-02

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