The research presented early in the course of Corona pandemic found that Covid-19 not as initially suspected a classic viral lung disease. Rather, the whole body is affected . A team from the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) has now proven that the new coronavirus  SARS-CoV-2 can also multiply in the kidneys . 

The novel corona virus can also multiply outside of the lungs, for example in the kidneys. Researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) have proven this in a study that they published in the current issue of the international specialist journal The Lancet. 

At the same time, the team observed that COVID-19 patients in whom the COVID-19 pathogen can be detected in the kidneys have a higher risk of acute kidney failure and a shorter survival time. For their study, the researchers evaluated autopsies of 63 mostly older patients with a COVID-19 infection and previous illnesses. The team found the COVID-19 pathogen in 60 percent of the kidneys examined. Only recently had the scientists discovered

In their current study, the researchers were able to show that the detection of SARS-CoV-2 pathogens in the kidneys of COVID-19 patients is associated with an increased risk of acute kidney failure: Among the patients with acute kidney failure, the scientists discovered 72 percent of the cases the virus in the kidneys. In contrast, in patients without acute kidney failure, they found the pathogen in the kidneys only in 43 percent of cases.

“This is an explanation for the frequent kidney failure in COVID-19 infection, which is one of the main mortality factors,” says study leader Prof. Dr. Tobias B. Huber, Director of the III. Medical clinic and polyclinic (nephrology, rheumatology, and endocrinology).

“We also succeeded in isolating the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen from the kidney of a deceased patient. The pathogen has multiplied 1000 times in kidney cells within 48 hours. Our results indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen can also actively multiply in organs other than the lungs, ”says co-study director Prof. Dr. Martin Aepfelbacher, Director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene.

In addition, the researchers discovered a connection between the detection of the virus in the kidney and the survival time of the patients who died of COVID-19. “From this and other studies we can learn that one has to pay attention to organ involvement in a COVID-19 infection at an early stage. In the case of the kidneys, this can be done using urine tests, ”says Prof. Huber.

Scientists from III. Medical Clinic and Polyclinic, the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, the Clinic for Intensive Care Medicine and the Institute for Forensic Medicine of the UKE.

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