Covid and thrombosis: an Italian study coordinated by Sapienza discovers a stroke-causing receptor

Publication in the journal Circulation Research, the official journal of the American Society of Cardiology, opens the way to important clinical perspectives in the treatment of Covid 19 patients

Severe bilateral pneumonia resulting in respiratory failure is not the only cause of mortality due to Covid-19. Patients often suffer pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction and stroke complications, which are also risk factors for death; in the most severe cases, around 20 % of hospitalised patients may suffer cardiovascular consequences. Although heparin has reduced the extent of these complications, risks still remain high.

The study carried out by a group of Sapienza researchers, coordinated by Professor Emeritus Francesco Violi, opens up new perspectives to counter the thrombotic risk in patients with Covid-19. Through the study of about 50 patients, the authors demonstrated that the virus' Spike protein binds to the platelet TLR4 receptor causing its activation and thrombosis; they reached this result by using blood taken from the patients and following three different methodologies, all of which agreed on the binding between the Spike protein and platelet TLR4. 

"The fact that a TLR4 inhibitor blocked platelet-mediated thrombosis,' Violi highlights, 'opens up important clinical perspectives in the treatment of Covid19 patients as this inhibitor could be used for prevention and treatment during the acute phase of the disease as an antithrombotic drug".

In order to favour immediate clinical trials, the research team and Rector Antonella Polimeni chose not to patent the discovery and thus favour the free circulation of the study result in the scientific community to the benefit of public health and safety.



Toll-Like Receptor 4-Dependent Platelet-Related Thrombosis in SARS-CoV-2 Infection - Roberto Carnevale, Vittoria Cammisotto, Simona Bartimoccia, Cristina Nocella, Valentina Castellani, Marianna Bufano, Lorenzo Loffredo, Sebastiano Sciarretta, Giacomo Frati, Antonio Coluccia, Romano Silvestri, Giancarlo Ceccarelli, Alessandra Oliva, Mario Venditti, Francesco Pugliese, Claudio Maria Mastroianni, Ombretta Turriziani, Martina Leopizzi, Giulia D’Amati, Pasquale Pignatelli and Francesco Violi - Research. 2023;0


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Francesco Violi


Wednesday, 18 January 2023

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