Multi-organ Effects of SARS-CoV-2

According to research from the American Chemical Society, SARS-CoV-2 can cause a wide range of symptoms from none to severe respiratory distress, multi-organ failure, and death. The virus shows to target the lungs but many patients also experience non-respiratory symptoms. Now the researchers compared the lipoproteins and metabolites in the blood of COVID-19 infected patients and healthy subjects. This revealed signs of multi-organ damage in patients which could someday help diagnose and treat COVID-19.

The existing diagnostic tests depend on the detection of viral RNA or antibodies against the virus. Both types of tests are susceptible to false-negative results, as well as having other limitations. Another, more accurate way of detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection could involve examining the metabolic changes the virus causes in an infected person. The team of researchers wanted to analyze the systemic effects of the disease and determine whether there is a general metabolic signature of COVID-19. A blood sample of 17 COVID-19 patients was collected with current assays and from 25 healthy patients who were tested negative for current or prior SARS-CoV-2 infection with an antibody test. The team then assessed the plasma lipoprotein, metabolite, and amino acid levels in blood plasma with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

The researchers then revealed a metabolic signature of SARS-CoV-2 infection involving signs of acute inflammation, liver dysfunction, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease risk. The team now aims at validating the data in a much larger group of patients. These results furthermore could help develop a metabolite-based diagnostic test and suggest that the recovered COVID-19 patients should be assessed for increased risk for other conditions.

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