Max Planck: How coronavirus infection changes blood cells

Coronavirus, Health, Infection, Long Covid, MIS-C PIMS, Science, Side Effects, Symptoms, Testing, Treatment

Covid-19 significantly changes the size and stiffness of red and white blood cells – sometimes over months. These results may help to explain why some affected people continue to complain of symptoms long after an infection (long covid).

Shortness of breath, fatigue and headaches: some patients still struggle with the long-term effects of a severe infection by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus after six months or more. This post Covid-19 syndrome, also called long covid (also post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 or PASC), is still not properly understood. What is clear is that — during the course of the disease — often blood circulation is impaired, dangerous vascular occlusions can occur and oxygen transport in is limited. These are all phenomena in which the blood cells and their physical properties play a key role.

To investigate this aspect, a team of scientists led by Markéta Kubánková, Jochen Guck, and Martin Kräter from the Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL), the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg and the German Centre for Immunotherapy measured the mechanical states of red and white blood cells. “We were able to detect clear and long-lasting changes in the cells — both during an acute infection and even afterwards,” reports Professor Guck, currently managing director of MPL. The research group has now published their results in the renowned journal “Biophysical Journal“.

Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash
** This post was originally published on July 2, 2021 **