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How does SARS-CoV-2 virus invade human body causing inflammation? what we know so far

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

As the pandemic spread, researchers gained a better understanding of how COVID-19 affects our bodies.

During the early stages of the pandemic, risk factors such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes were rapidly linked to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID.

We now know that the virus can directly affect the heart and cause a variety of heart complications.

Also, Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA COVID vaccines have been linked to heart inflammation. But this is rare, and COVID infection is much more likely to cause heart inflammation than vaccines.

COVID vs. our heart

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has the ability to infect the body directly, causing inflammation. This can have a detrimental effect on the heart, resulting in myocarditis and pericarditis — inflammation of the heart muscle and outer lining of the heart, respectively.

Additionally, COVID-induced inflammation can result in blood clotting, which can block a heart or brain artery, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

COVID can also result in abnormal heart rhythms, leg and lung clots, and heart failure. Our understanding of how COVID causes heart inflammation and muscle injury is improving, but there is still much more to learn.

Persistent symptoms caused by the virus, dubbed “long COVID,” have been reported in approximately 10 to 30 percent of people who contract COVID.

According to a July study on long COVID, common cardiovascular symptoms include palpitations, rapid or slow heart rate, chest pain, visible bulging veins, and fainting.

Over 90 percent of the approximately 3,700 study participants reported that their recovery took longer than eight months.

The Delta variant, discovered in October 2020 in India, is highly transmissible. It is the variant that has resulted in lockdowns in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.

Although data are limited, it is possible that it may result in more severe disease and, anecdotally, may increase the risk of heart complications.

According to a Scottish study, those with the Delta variant had a nearly doubled risk of hospitalization for COVID when compared to those with the Alpha variant (which originated in the UK). Additionally, it was discovered that Delta was most prevalent among younger people.

But two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines still work to prevent Delta complications.

COVID vaccines vs. our heart

A link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare blood clotting syndrome has been reported by scientists.

Additionally, there is a link between mRNA COVID vaccines and a relatively uncommon side effect of heart inflammation (myocarditis and pericarditis). This appears to be more prevalent in males under the age of 30 and following the second vaccine dose.

However, this is extremely rare. Updated data from Australia shows that to date, only 111 cases of suspected (but not confirmed) heart inflammation have been reported among the 5.6 million Pfizer vaccine doses administered to Australians. There have been no reported deaths in Australia as a result of this vaccine side effect.

Recovery from this type of heart inflammation is generally favorable. COVID vaccination benefits far outweigh the risks associated with these generally mild diseases.

Nonetheless, if you develop any new symptoms following a COVID vaccine, such as chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, fainting, or shortness of breath, you should seek prompt medical attention.

Vaccination is safe for the vast majority of people with heart conditions. However, if you have had myocarditis or pericarditis in the preceding six months, consult your physician or cardiologist.

Get your heart checked now.

During the pandemic, many people resisted seeking medical help. This includes both emergency and routine cardiac care. England, Italy, and China have reported longer symptom-to-hospital treatment delays. This increases the risk of heart damage.

According to one study, global heart attack hospital admissions have dropped 40 to 50 percent. Between March and June 2020, the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney reduced cardiac surgery by 21 percent.

Despite the pandemic, you should not neglect your heart health. If you suspect a heart attack, call your doctor immediately.

Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

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