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Scientists ID coronavirus proteins that harm blood vessels

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A team of Israeli experts has solved the mystery of which proteins in the SARS-CoV-2 virus are responsible for severe vascular damage in cobid-19 patients.

The new corona virus is made up of 29 proteins. Five of these proteins were identified as vascular pests in a study led by researchers at Tel Aviv University Ben Maoz (Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience), Prof. Uri Asheri (Life Sciences and Neuroscience) and Prof. Rod Sharan (Computer Science).

“We are seeing a very high incidence of vascular disease and blood clotting, such as stroke and heart attack, among Cubid patients,” Maoz said.

“We tend to think of Cubid as primarily a respiratory disease, but the truth is that corona patients are three times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack,” he explained.

Dr. Ben Maoz from Tel Aviv University. Photo courtesy of Tel Aviv University

“All the evidence shows that the virus severely damages the blood vessels or endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. We wanted to find out which proteins in the virus are responsible for this type of damage.”

Also participating in the study were Rusna Rauti, Yael Bardugo and Mishar Shahoach from Tel Aviv University and Prof. Yaakov Nachmias from the Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University. The results were Published In the diary eLife.

“Our research could help find targets for a drug that would be used to stop the virus, or at least minimize vascular damage,” in Cubid-19 patients, Maoz said.

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