Anticoagulant Has Beneficial Side Effects for COVID-19 Patients, Study Finds — ScienceDaily – Community News
Covid-19

Anticoagulant Has Beneficial Side Effects for COVID-19 Patients, Study Finds — ScienceDaily

Clotting problems and resulting complications are common in COVID-19 patients. Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna have now shown that a member of the anticoagulant group of drugs has a beneficial effect not only on the survival of COVID-19 patients, but also the duration of active infection with the SARS-CoV-2 affect the coronavirus. The results were recently published in the journal Cardiovascular research.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a multifaceted infectious disease. While at the start of the global pandemic it was believed that COVID-19 was primarily a lung disease, it is now known that several functional systems in the human body are affected after infection with the pathogen SARS-CoV-2. One of these functional systems is blood clotting. COVID-19 patients have an increased risk of thrombosis and embolism, such as stroke, lung or myocardial infarction and even deep vein thrombosis. The use of drugs that inhibit blood clotting has been part of the treatment guidelines for COVID-19 since July 2020. “These complications during hospitalization have a direct impact on patients’ well-being and increase the risk of dying from COVID-19,” reports David Pereyra of MedUni Vienna’s Department of General Surgery, the publication’s lead author. The underlying coagulopathy is still not fully understood.

COVID-19 causes unique clotting problems

“The coagulopathy observed in COVID-19 patients is new and differs in many ways from previously known coagulation problems,” said Alice Assinger, group leader at the Institute of Vascular Biology and Thrombosis Research at the Medical University of Vienna and last author of the publication, “COVID-19-associated coagulopathy exhibits features that, while partially similar to other coagulation diseases, cannot be fully explained by it.” Alice Assinger’s group therefore set out in the spring of 2020, at an early stage of the pandemic, to look for an explanation for this partial condition of COVID-19.

In a multicenter analysis of COVID-19 patients in Vienna, Linz and Innsbruck, the group noted that COVID-19-associated coagulopathy occurs almost exclusively in patients requiring intensive care or in patients who die as a result of COVID-19. Although anticoagulants improve the survival of COVID-19 patients, they have no effect on immunological processes related to blood clotting (immunothrombosis).

Low molecular weight heparin shortens the duration of infection

However, the analyzes showed that the period of active SARS-CoV-2 infection is shortened in patients treated with low molecular weight heparin, the most commonly used anticoagulant. “In patients receiving this drug, the infection time is on average four days shorter than in patients not treated with low molecular weight heparin. We were surprised to see that low molecular weight heparin can have a direct effect on coronavirus and its contagiousness,” says David Pereyra. Experimental data show that heparin can inhibit the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to bind to cells, preventing them from being infected.

These observations were made in the context of close collaboration between the three hospitals involved – the Favoriten Hospital in Vienna, the Innsbruck Regional Hospital in Innsbruck and the Johannes Kepler University Hospital in Linz – as well as through the active exchange between basic researchers and clinicians,” says Alice Assinger, who underlines the importance of good cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic to better understand the disease and its treatment.

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Materials supplied by Medical University of Vienna. Note: Content is editable for style and length.