Heart damage has been noticed among many patients hospitalized with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19), leading many to wonder how it is that the virus affects the heart.
New research reveals that the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 can lead to heart muscle injury through a specific inflammatory process. Dr. Zhiqiang Lin, Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor at the Masonic Medical Research Institute (MMRI), led the team which made the discovery. The American Heart Association announced the findings Monday, July 25, in Chicago at the AHA Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Meeting.
“Our data show for the first time that the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 causes heart muscle damage,” Dr. Lin said of the study. “That’s why it’s important to get vaccinated, to prevent this devastating disease.”
Dr. Lin’s team includes Dr. Chase Kessinger, Instructor of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Histology/Imaging/Surgery Core Manager at MMRI. Co-authors are Caroline Sheldon, B.A.; Steven Negron, B.A.; Bing Xu, Ph.D.; William T. Pu, M.D.; and Chieh-Yu Lin, M.D., Ph.D.