COVID-19 causes widespread organ damage, Russian scientists say

Russian doctors currently treat COVID-19 as widespread vasculitis, rather than a respiratory infection that affects the lung tissue.

The virus affects the vascular endothelium in all organs, but this process is easiest to recognize through the lungs, Natalia Kostina, the chief freelance pulmonologist of the Voronezh region, told RIA Voronezh.

"These lesions, which we see in the lung tissue, are usually found everywhere - in kidneys, in the liver, in the skin. Therefore, what we see in the lung tissue is not pneumonia. These are rather signs of epitheliitis - vascular lesions, lesions of the vascular wall," she said.

According to her, the course of the coronavirus infection does not end after the patient is discharged. Some people can remain sick for up to six or eight months. In this case, the acute phase lasts on average up to four weeks after discharge, when severe complications may develop. The subacute phase then lasts from four to twelve weeks. During these two stages, symptoms can both progress and regress.

Three months after the first signs of COVID-19 appear, the "pure" post-COVID period begins. This period turned out to be similar to widespread vasculitis in all its manifestations. It can be accompanied by very different symptoms, including neurological and gastrointestinal ones. Patients who have gone through intensive care simultaneously experience postresuscitation syndrome during this period.

Earlier, Western scientists found a connection between COVID-19 and inflammation-induced brain vascular disruption. Researchers analyzed MRI brain scans of deceased coronavirus patients and found widespread minor damage to the nerve tissue on the scans. Such damage usually appears as a result of a stroke or inflammation of the brain. It turned out that the capillaries were deteriorated due to the high activity of the immune system, which struck not only the virus, but also healthy blood vessels. This resulted in the creation of "holes" in blood vessels, where blood clots and microglia had penetrated.