Researchers Identify Why COVID-19 Patients Develop Life-Threatening Clots

Dawn O'Shea

June 23, 2021

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have identified how and why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening clots.

The team analysed blood samples from patients with COVID-19 in the Beaumont Hospital Intensive Care Unit in Dublin.

They found that the balance between von Willebrand Factor (VWF) and its regulator, ADAMTS13 is severely disrupted in patients with severe COVID-19.

When compared to control groups, COVID-19 patients had higher levels of the pro-clotting VWF and lower levels of the anti-clotting ADAMTS13. Furthermore, the researchers identified other changes in proteins that caused the reduction of ADAMTS13.

"Our research helps provide insights into the mechanisms that cause severe blood clots in patients with COVID-19, which is critical to developing more effective treatments," said Dr Jamie O'Sullivan, study co-author and research lecturer at the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology at the RCSI.

"While more research is needed to determine whether targets aimed at correcting the levels of ADAMTS13 and VWF may be a successful therapeutic intervention, it is important that we continue to develop therapies for patients with COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be unavailable to many people throughout the world, and it is important that we provide effective treatments to them and to those with breakthrough infections."

References: Ward SE, Fogarty H, Karampini E, Lavin M, Schneppenheim S, Dittmer R, Morrin H, Glavey S, Ni Cheallaigh C, Bergin C, Martin-Loeches I, Mallon PW, Curley GF, Baker RI, Budde U, O'Sullivan JM, O' Donnell JS; Irish COVID-19 Vasculopathy Study (iCVS) investigators. ADAMTS13 regulation of VWF multimer distribution in severe COVID-19. J Thromb Haemost. 2021 May 30. doi: 10.1111/jth.15409. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34053187.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network

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