RESEARCH (pm / nf) – In 1918/1919, the Spanish flu raged, killing around 50 million people worldwide. The current COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 1.33 million lives so far. The causes of death from COVID-19 are often compared to those from seasonal flu. A study of the available autopsy reports now shows that this comparison is lagging.
A research group around Prof. Dr. Holger Moch, Director of the Institute for Pathology and Molecular Pathology at University Hospital Zurich, has evaluated the autopsy results of 411 patients who died between May 1918 and April 1919 from the “Spanish” influenza A pandemic in the USZ and compared them with those of the COVID-19 autopsies published to date.
There is a striking difference: in none of the autopsy reports on the “Spanish” flu are visible blood clots mentioned. In contrast, a pulmonary artery thrombosis or pulmonary embolism is indicated in 36% of the 75 COVID-19 autopsies published to date. And this even though these patients received thrombosis prophylaxis, which is normal for hospitalized patients. This finding is in line with the findings from previous studies, according to which COVID-19 can lead to generalized inflammation of the vascular endothelium and thus to increased blood clot formation. This would explain the high incidence of pulmonary embolisms, even in patients without an underlying deep vein thrombosis or other risk factors for thrombosis.
Study on thrombosis prophylaxis important
There were very few autopsies of COVID victims in the first few months of the outbreak. Even today they are rare in relation to the number of deaths. What can be determined unequivocally from the previous data: In COVID-19 patients, progressive, life-threatening pneumonia and thromboembolic events are very often observed. So-called capillary microthrombi, i.e. blood clots in the finest vessels, are observed much more frequently in corona patients than in patients with “normal” flu.
The so-called OVID study, led by Prof. Nils Kucher, Director of the Clinic for Angiology, is therefore examining the safety and effectiveness of a blood thinner to prevent blood clots in outpatients with coronavirus infection and is still looking for study participants. Interested persons aged 50 and over with a positive test result can contact 043 253 03 03.