The pandemic that spread so rapidly around the world in the early months of this year and that has stayed with us since has been understood, for the most part, as a respiratory condition; as is influenza, to which Covid-19 is often sloppily compared. But scientists have come around to the view that the novel virus poses, more centrally and devastatingly, an attack on the vascular system, that is, the blood vessels.
According to one researcher in vascular biology, Dr. William Li, once the virus enters the human body it “makes a beeline for the cells lining blood vessels. filling them up like a gumball machine ans then shredding the cell from the inside out.” These targeted cells, the inside lining of veins and arteries, are known as the “endothelial cells.” Many patients who survive a bout with this disease, and return home from the hospital, have continuing difficulties due to the lasting damage to those very useful citizens of the organism.
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One doctor has kept track of the post-hospital troubles of his patients says, “They are off oxygen, they can be discharged home, but their vasculature is not completely resolved, they still have inflammation… What can happen is they develop a blood clot, and they have a massive pulmonary embolism.”