08 Apr How Scientists are Using Stem Cells to Figure Out COVID-19 Impact on the Heart
Medical professionals initially identify novel COVID-19 or coronavirus as a respiratory disease. However, the virulent disease with its tons of variants can affect many organs in the body, such as the heart. In fact, heart damage is one of the significant determinants of COVID-19 related causalities. Even patients who developed mild COVID-19 symptoms showed signs of severe cardiac dysfunction months after recovery.
COVID-19 Impact on Heart
A recent study by Gladstone Institutes’ researchers explains how the CoV-2 virus causes COVID-19 and inflicts the heart cells. The team’s findings were produced on bioRxiv and then published in the journal “Science Translational Medicine”. They show the unexpected effects of virus-affected heart cells’ structure and function. The scientists could determine the impact on the heart tissues.
With the collaboration of the Gladstone Institute, the team exposed the doses and cells of CoV-2. The virus productively affected the cardiomyocytes- heart muscle cells. Put simply, the COVID-19 virus has the ability to enter the heart muscle cells and create new copies.
Role of Stem Cells in Determining the Impact of COVID-19 on the Heart
Stem cell therapy in Phoenix, Arizona, used pluripotent stem cells to address and identify the direct and indirect effect of COVID -19 on the heart. These are specialized cells that come from skin or blood. The researchers identify Pluripotent stem cells as potent derivatives for the study.
As stem cells have a remarkable quality to transform into different cell types, they become an invaluable tool to find the impact of coronavirus on the heart. Stem cell therapy Phoenix, AZ, infected stem cell derivatives with the COVID-19 virus to study how the infection processes and affects the heart.
Using this research method, scientists show that stem cells derived from the heart muscle and blood vessels are prone to COVID -19 infection. However, it may be different for other cells in various tissues. Some brain tissues, for example, don’t have any direct effect on the infection. The lab studies are parallel to medical reports, which show that show some tissues, such as heart muscles, are more susceptible to COVID -19 than others.
Scientists further found that some infected stem cells (derived from heart muscle) stopped beating and expired within four days. Moreover, infection affected the immune response, increasing the speed of virus spread.
Researchers are using the infected heart muscle cells to test for drugs to see if they can improve survival and functions.
The cells can help identify novel antiviral drugs and medicines that can, specifically, reduce virus replication and spread in the heart. They can be of tremendous help to potentially decrease the ratio of cardiac injury and limit the virus spread.
In a nutshell, stem cell scientists use these cells to determine the effects of COVID-induced myocarditis. They use immune cells in the experiment to see how they fight the infection and improve health.