QUB begins research on COVID-19 blood vessel damage

  • Queen’s University Belfast has begun new research into the effects of COVID-19 on blood vessels and the brain.

    While COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs and most deaths occur due to severe respiratory symptoms, recent research has shown that the virus can infect the endothelial cells lining a patient's blood vessels. Cases have appeared around the world linking the virus to strokes, retina damage, and brain issues.

    Work has been going on around the world into the potential long-term impact of the disease, as some of those who have recovered from the illness have still shown lingering health, fitness, and even neurological issues months later.

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    Queen's University has now been awarded a grant from Science Foundation Ireland and the Department for the Economy for new research into exactly how COVID-19 damages blood vessels. The project is being led by Professor Alan Stitt from Queen’s University Belfast and Dr Roger Preston from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

    The project will shed light on how cells lining blood vessels react to the virus, the role of inflammation in the retina and brain, and the creation of blood clots. The results are expected to help researchers globally develop ways to protect blood vessels from damage in COVID-19 cases and reduce or treat long-term issues.

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    Professor Alan Stitt commented: "We know that COVID-19 has a profound impact on the blood vessels of the central nervous system although the precise mechanisms of how this coronavirus causes damage in these organs remains ill-defined. This project seeks to decipher the molecular mechanisms that underpin vascular damage in the brain and retina, with a particular focus on the clotting system in these fragile vessels."

    Source: Written based on press release

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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