UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR-TV) — The global health crisis created a huge demand for medical research to understand the affects of COVID-19. At Masonic Medical Research Institute, they began studying how the virus responds to people with cardiac conditions and certain types of medications.
“One of the things that’s under appreciated is cardiac affects of viral infections so out of all of the mortality associated with infections, about 20% of it will be due to the affects on the heart. So one of the big questions is was is it actually affecting the heart or is more of a systemic thing. So we looked at our data to say what is the potential for the virus to actually attack.” – Dr. Nathan Tucker, Assistant Professor, Masonic Medical Research Institute
Around 15 patients with two types of heart disease were tested. So far, there’s been three major findings. One, the receptor for the virus, which is what allows it to attach to the cell, may affect the cells in the small vessels that line the heart for circulation. Second, patients with pre-exisiting heart conditions had their tissue compared to those who don’t.
“The cell type that’s responsible for the actual pumping action of your heart, it’s called Cardiomyocytes, in people with pre-existing conditions had much more of this receptor.” – Dr. Nathan Tucker, Assistant Professor, Masonic Medical Research Institute
And third, the affects of high blood pressure medications with COVID-19.
“Our study really didn’t show large affect of these medications on that particular receptor for the virus. . . There’s been other studies that have come out that are lending similar information as well.” – Dr. Nathan Tucker, Assistant Professor, Masonic Medical Research Institute
Dr. Tucker says MMRI is hoping to have this study complete by the end of this year but there’s a lot we’re still learning about COVID-19.
“SARS-CoV-1 was 20 years ago and it’s possible or likely that SARS-CoV-3 comes along at some point. So the more that we learn about this one… That we’re more ready next time should this happen again.” – Dr. Nathan Tucker, Assistant Professor, Masonic Medical Research Institute