Infections with SARS-CoV-2 mainly attack the lungs, but can also damage other organs such as the intestines: effects on the digestive tract were found in around 60 percent of patients. New findings from researchers at MedUni Vienna could form the basis for further developed treatment strategies. They were published in the “International Journal of Molecular Sciences”.
The scientific team, led by Diana Mechtcheriakova from the Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, focused on investigating the peculiarities and similarities in the effects of Covid-19 on the lungs and other organs. It turned out that a different molecular mechanism takes place in the pulmonary and gastrointestinal areas. While classic reactions of the immune system occur in the case of corona infections of the lungs, there are consequences in the gastrointestinal tract in connection with the liver and fat metabolism.
Gastrointestinal symptoms occur in up to 60 percent of Covid patients, which can be associated with a longer duration of the disease and/or a worse course. “Our findings can advance the identification of new biomarkers and treatment strategies for Covid-19 that take into account the specific reactions in manifestations outside the lungs,” announced Diana Mechtcheriakova, head of the Molecular Systems Biology and Pathophysiology research group at MedUni Vienna, about follow-up studies.