Another study concludes brain clots ‘more likely’ with COVID-19 infection than vaccine.
Scientists have been gathering data on the effects of the Wuhan Coronavirus for over a year. One new study has been following patients post-infection and has come to a disturbing a conclusion about the development of blood clots.
The U.S. government just put a halt to the use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine over a one-in-a million chance of women developing blot clots after use. Now an article published in the American Society of Hematology publication Blood reports that far more COVID patients suffer from blood clots after leaving the hospital than previously realized.
“There’s anywhere from a three to fivefold risk of blood clots compared to the pre-COVID era,” says Alex Spyropoulos, the study’s senior author and a professor at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, which is a part of the New York hospital system Northwell Health. “I’ve never seen this type of blood clot risk in my life.”
It was well known that hospitalized COVID patients, and especially those in intensive care, faced a high risk of clots. But Spyropoulos says “this study shows for the first time that heightened risk of blood clots persists after patients leave the hospital.”
COVID can lead to blood clots by provoking an overwhelming immune response called a cytokine storm. The cytokine storm causes inflammation and does localized damage to blood vessels and organ linings, which prompts the body’s clotting systems to kick in.
That risk appears to remain high even after someone has recovered from the most life-threatening phases of COVID. “It takes a long time for immune mechanisms to calm down,” Spyropoulos says. “The inflammatory system and the immune system and the coagulation system don’t know that the patient has left the hospital.”
The medical team followed a group of 11,000 patients post-infection.
Another study, this time looking at those who took the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, demonstrated that the risk of developing a serious brain clot (i.e. cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, CVST) is eight to 10 times higher in people who have been infected with the coronavirus than those who get a vaccine.
The research, which involved electronic health records of 81 million people in the US, looked at the number of CVST cases seen in the two weeks following a diagnosis of coronavirus and the number of cases occurring in the two weeks after people had their first coronavirus vaccine.
It estimates that while these blood clots are uncommon after Covid – with 39 in every million people developing one within two weeks of being ill – they are much rarer still after a vaccine.
Interestingly, there had been indications in earlier studies that people with Type A blood were more susceptible to contracting the virus. Yet a recent study released that looked at U.S. patients concludes blood type is not a factor.
Researchers analyzed data on nearly 108,000 people from Utah, Idaho, and Nevada who were tested for COVID-19 and whose blood type was listed in their medical records. None of the blood types – A, B, AB or O – was linked with their risk of becoming infected, need for hospitalization or intensive care, according to a report published in JAMA Network Open.
Smaller studies from China, Italy and Spain have linked type A blood to higher COVID-19 risks and type O blood to lower risks, and a large study from Denmark tied blood type to COVID-19 severity. Studies from New York and Boston – like this new study – found no such links. Study coauthor Dr. Jeffrey Anderson of the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City said in a statement that the effects of blood type can vary across populations. “We looked at a lot of risk factors as to who might need to be hospitalized and who might need more advanced care, and… for our population at least, blood type is not on that list,” Anderson said.
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