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Blood Clotting Observed as Root Cause of Long COVID

ELEVATED markers of blood clotting have been attributed to the persistent symptoms of Long COVID, such as reduced physical fitness and fatigue, by researchers in Ireland. Studying a topic at the forefront of today’s public health focus, this study brings evidence to fill in the gaps about a syndrome that affects millions for months after initial infection.  

Examining 50 patients, clotting markers were significantly elevated in patients of Long COVID, compared with healthy controls, and highest in patients requiring hospitalisation from their infection. Even those able to manage their illness at home exhibited persistently high clotting markers. Combining these findings with the sustained clotting potential observed after markers of inflammation had returned to normal, researchers were able to conclude higher clotting as directly related to the symptoms of Long COVID syndrome.  

The information from the study will be confirmed or challenged by the related research, which will follow suit, but Helen Fogarty, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin, Ireland, who led the investigation, contextualised this information: “Because clotting markers were elevated while inflammation markers had returned to normal, our results suggest that the clotting system may be involved in the root cause of Long COVID syndrome.”  

James O’Donnell, St James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, highlighted the usefulness of findings: “Understanding the root cause of a disease is the first step toward developing effective treatments.” This suggests that this could be a helpful contribution in laying the foundations for research in this field. Evaluating the study, O’Donnell went on to describe the importance and requirement of such studies going forwards: “Millions of people are already dealing with the symptoms of Long COVID syndrome, and more people will develop Long COVID as the infections among the unvaccinated continue to occur. It is imperative that we continue to study this condition and develop effective treatments.” This investigation will no doubt provide guidance for future analyses on the relationship between blood clotting and Long COVID.