New research has identified that blood clotting could be the ‘root cause’ of long COVID, with those diagnosed with the virus having more blood clots compared to those without.

Blood clotting can trigger extreme exhaustion and reduced physical health, both primary symptoms of long COVID.

Prior research revealed that severe blood clotting occurred in people with COVID-19 who were left in a critical condition.

Academics from RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences assessed 50 people diagnosed with long COVID to analyse whether irregular blood clotting was present.

They found that increased blood clotting was evident in people diagnosed with long COVID, with those who were admitted to hospital after first being infected with the virus recording even more blood clots.

According to the researchers, increased blot clotting was linked to some symptoms of long COVID, including extreme exhaustion and decreased physical health.

Inflammation also boosted the risks of blood clotting in people with long COVID, the study reports, even though it had reverted back to normal in most people.

Chief author Dr Helen Fogarty said: “Because clotting markers were elevated while inflammation markers had returned to normal, our results suggest that the clotting system may be involved in the root cause of long COVID syndrome.”

Estimates report that millions of people around the world have been diagnosed with long COVID, meaning they have to endure COVID-19 symptoms for months after first being infected with the virus.

Fellow researcher Professor James O’Donnell said: “Understanding the root cause of a disease is the first step toward developing effective treatments.

“Millions of people are already dealing with the symptoms of long COVID syndrome, and more people will develop long COVID as the infections among the unvaccinated continue to occur.”

He added: “It is imperative that we continue to study this condition and develop effective treatments.”

The study is now published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

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