Complications from COVID-19 may depend on von Willebrand fac
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Anna Aksenova, a senior research associate at the Laboratory of Amyloid Biology at St Petersburg University, has advanced a hypothesis that the severe course of COVID-19 may be associated with the von Willebrand factor, one of the main components of the blood coagulation system.

As the researcher suggests, the replication of the virus stimulates the development of microdamage on vessel walls. In its response to this, the body releases von Willebrand factor into the blood, trying to 'patch' possible holes. As a result, the risk of thromboses increases. It is with this clotting that a significant part of the deaths from COVID-19 are associated.

The level and activity of VWF in the blood in people can be different. The lowest values are associated with von Willebrand disease. It is a hereditary blood disease that is characterized by spontaneous bleeding. Additionally, it differs markedly among healthy people. For example, it is higher among: African Americans than among Europeans; in men than in women; in adults than in children; and in the elderly than in middle-aged people.

Also, academic papers have described the VWF and blood group relationship—its level is lower among people with blood group 0, and is higher among those with blood group A. The different amount and activity of VWF in people with different blood groups has a very interesting explanation: this protein is modified by oligosaccharide chains of antigenic determinants of the AB0 system, and this affects its stability and activity.

Additionally, as Anna Aksenova notes, this hypothesis explains why the drug chloroquine, which is usually used to treat malaria, in preliminary trials has shown efficacy in COVID-19 treatment as well. The fact is that chloroquine affects the process of autophagy in cells. This process regulates the secretion of certain factors into the extracellular environment, including the secretion of VWF.

The attention of researchers from all over the world is now starting to focus on VWF, its role in COVID-19, and new treatment regimens that will take into account the individual characteristics of the human body associated with von Willebrand factor.

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Interesting read.
Jul 10, 2020Like1