Antibodies May Explain Why COVID-19 Patients Get Blood Clots | Time
One of the more surprising symptoms of COVID-19 has been the blood clots that many patients, including younger ones, have experienced with the infection. The clots have in some cases led to dangerous blockages in the lungs, caused strokes and even death, even in people without a history of circulatory conditions.
In a paper published in Science earlier this week, researchers provide a glimpse into what may be driving the clots triggered by COVID-19 infection. The group found that a specific set of antibodies known as autoantibodies—which are rogue versions of proteins meant to defend the body from pathogens, but instead attack its own cells (in this case the body’s own blood vessel cells)—may be partly responsible for the clotting risk associated with the disease. Among 172 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, they found that half produced these autoantibodies. In addition, when the scientists injected the autoantibodies into lab mice, the animals developed blood clots.