Bradykinin Storm phenomenon amongst Covid-19 patients
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health; Pandemic & GS-III – Science & Technology
- A recent analysis of samples of patients with the Covid-19 infection has shown a phenomenon called a ‘bradykinin storm’.
- Doctors treating Covid-19 patients often cannot identify the severity with which the SARS-CoV-2 virus seems to affect some people.
- ‘Bradykinin storm’ might explain the working of the virus in the body.
- However, the cytokine storm is able to explain certain causes for the rapid deterioration in some patients with Covid-19.
Important value additions
The bradykinin hypothesis
- SARS-CoV-2 uses a human enzyme called ACE2 to enter into the cells of its host.
- ACE2 lowers blood pressure in the human body and works against another enzyme known as ACE (which has the opposite effect).
- The virus causes the levels of ACE to fall in the lungs, and consequently pushes up the levels of ACE2.
- This happens as a chain reaction and increases the levels of the molecule bradykinin in the cells, causing a bradykinin storm.
- The storm causes the blood vessels to expand and become leaky, leading to swelling of the surrounding tissue.
- The levels of hyaluronic acid also increase.
- The leakage of fluid into the lungs and the excess of hyaluronic acid result in a Jello-like substance.
- It prevents oxygen uptake in the severely affected Covid-19 patients.
- Thus, it sometimes makes even the most sophisticated intensive care futile.
- Knowing the mechanism, doctors can target the bradykinin pathway to evolve more therapeutic interventions to offset the severe effects of Covid-19.
Do you know?
- Bradykinin is a compound that is related to pain sensation and lowering blood pressure in the human body.
- Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the skin, and it helps to bind water to collagen (a protein). It can absorb more than 1,000 times its own weight in water to form a hydrogel.