BREAKING! COVID-19 News: SARS-CoV-2 That Causes Liver Impairment In Many Also Causes Hypoalbuminemia!
: A new meta-analysis study by researchers from Department of Hepatology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou-China and Mei-Zhu Hong, Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Mengchao Hepatobiliary Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou-China on the liver chemistries of severe or non-severe patients of COVID-19 has revealed interesting insights into varying degrees of liver impairment that SARS-CoV-2 infections can cause and also possibly contribute to Long COVID.
The study findings showed that individuals with severe cases of COVID-19 infections tend to have higher gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels in blood test. High levels of GGT in the blood is a reflection of liver disease or damage to the bile ducts. Bile ducts are tubes that carry bile in and out of the liver.
The study findings also showed that severe infections also lead to low levels of albumin or what is known as hypoalbuminemia.
Thailand Medical News would like to add that symptoms of hypoalbuminemia include the following:
-Weak muscle tone.
-Swelling in their feet and legs.
-Dark-colored urine and/or frequent urination.
-Loss of appetite.
It has been found that some of those severe cases who recovered had these symptoms in Long COVID manifestations and there is a possibly that hypoalbuminemia is also contributing to some of the Long COVID conditions.
The study team from China sought to provide a comprehensive analysis of liver test parameters in patients with severe and non-severe COVID-19.
The researchers performed a detailed meta-analysis of published liver manifestations and described the liver damage in COVID-19. They searched PubMed, Google Scholar, Embase, Cochrane Library, medRxiv, bioRxiv, and three Chinese electronic databases through April 18, 2020, in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Meta-Analyses.
The study team then analyzed pooled data on liver chemistries stratified by COVID-19 severity using a fixed or random-effects model.
The study findings form the detailed meta-analysis of 56 studies, including 11052 patients, found that the pooled mean alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in severe COVID-19 cases was 35.9 IU/L whereas in non-severe COVID-19 cases was 27.3 IU/L. Average aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels were 44.3 IU/L in severe cases compared to 27.9 IU/L in non-severe cases. In addition, AST levels are often higher than ALT levels regardless of disease severity.
Most importantly, the severe cases tended to have a higher gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) level but a lower albumin level than the non-severe cases.
The study findings concluded that severe COVID-19 was more likely to be associated with abnormal liver test results. Monitoring liver chemistry closely can help detect disease progression early.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed World Journal of Hepatology.
An earlier Spanish study had already found the SARS-CoV-2 spike 1 subunit is
also able to bind to albumin and contribute to disease severity.
A study by researchers from UK and Iraq showed persistent levels of hypoalbuminemia in recovered patients.
Studies have also emerged that even those with mild symptomatic COVID-19 infections also exhibit hypoalbuminemia.
Studies have also emerged that even children with mild COVID-19 are also developing hypoalbuminemia.
While many studies have focused on hypoalbuminemia to determine disease progression into severity, not much research have focused on persistent levels of hypoalbuminemia in asymptomatic, mild and all Post COVID-19 individuals.
We at Thailand Medical News believes that the persistent hypoalbuminemia is affecting many Post-COVID-19 individuals irrespective of their initial conditions upon exposure to the virus and more some also believe without substantial evidence yet that the some of the new SARS-CoV-2 subvariants and sub-lineages that have been in circulation since Jun2 2022 are also displaying more tropism to the liver tissues and cells as well.
We have already covered extensive in our past COVID-19 News
coverages that SARS-CoV-2 infections not only lead to liver impairment and acute liver injury but also contributes to the possibility of liver cancer, fatty liver disease and other dangerous liver conditions.
More urgent studies are needed on hypoalbuminemia and long COVID as many researchers and even physicians could be missing out on yet one of the many factors contributing to Long COVID.
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