Long Covid: Does Vessel Damage Explain Symptoms?

This can be measured with ultrasound techniques. “And we have also seen that in many younger patients, the small vessels have not been adequately supplied with blood and as a result there may also be an insufficient supply of oxygen to organs, such as the muscles.”

It is precisely this reduced supply of oxygen to the muscles that could also explain “that this tiredness is not just a sensation, but that it can be measured really well, so that the strength of the hand of many people is also reduced”.

However, this leads to early approaches to how post-Covid syndrome could be treated “by specifically administering drugs that modulate the immune system or by specifically administering drugs that improve blood circulation.”

Virus residue as a trigger?

A trigger of this vascular damage could be virus residues, which lead to prolonged activation of the immune system in some patients. These are not infectious viruses continuing to multiply in the body, but rather “small bits of protein,” says Scheibenbogen. The result is a lifelong inflammatory reaction that negatively affects vascular function.

A study by the Innsbruck-based MedUni also provided an indication of this. Gastroscopy is performed regularly in patients with chronic intestinal diseases. As part of one study, components of the virus were found in the mucous membrane of the small or large intestine in all patients who have shown long-standing Covid symptoms such as fatigue and exhaustion, regardless of the underlying disease.

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