In recent times the viral pathogen COVID-19 has made a significant impact on the entire globe due to its infection rate and fatalities amongst those of the immunocompromised and aged populations exposed to this virus. However, a vaccine has been developed and is being actively deployed to counteract and minimize COVID’s impact on society. Another factor that has been gaining traction regarding the symptoms or effects of this virus is the development of an autoimmune disorder called Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura, or ITP for short. To further understand the subject, an explanation must be provided as to what this disorder is.
Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura is an autoimmune disorder that is most commonly triggered by a severe viral infection within the body. According to pdsa.org, the condition can often develop by a viral infection and the effect of immunizations to viral diseases, exposures to toxins, or the presence of other illnesses such as HIV or lupus. The disorder itself is known to destroy the body’s platelets due to the body wrongly producing antibodies to bind to said cells, marking them for demolition for the spleen. Thus, the body begins to experience several symptoms such as increased frequency of bruises, Petechiae, red spots that dot the skin due to broken blood vessels, bleeding from the gums or nose, blood in urine stool, heavy menstrual fluid, and fatigue. According to healthline.com. Knowing this disorder means how it is often triggered by viral infections and not entirely understood. However, it is stated to be possibly resultant of the virus’s triggering of the immune system, sending it into a state that causes these errors to occur. With this in mind, COVID-19 seems to have become a steadily increasing catalyst for this disorder, as this study will entail.
Upon reviewing the study, COVID‐19‐associated immune thrombocytopenia is a case study about a 59-year-old man who has had an extensive medical history that had developed a severe case of ITP for approximately 19 days while in the hospital. This development resulted in a near-fatal bleed out while hospitalized but fortunately corrected and stabilized with this development treatment. Looking further into the study of another patient, a 66-year-old woman, had also developed ITP due to COVID-19 infection with hypertension before this disorder’s development. This account was also treated effectively and was promptly corrected before it became fatal on the woman. Upon viewing this case study, it is evident that there is some consistent link between the development of ITP and the infection of the novel COVID-19 virus. All three of these patients and the studies focused on them do share a similar means of gathering the data found in this study, which involved studying the patients being hospitalized and serving to detail these patients’ medical details. Gathering consent from these patients while also showing additional studies that help point other cases of COVID-19 that seem to have developed into a case ITP following infection. There are some significant issues within this study that require further confirmation from a second study. There are only three patients observed under this study. While also having virtually no method in filtering any distinct individual from the study. However, the research is still valid to use. It contains evidence backing it up from other articles noted in the reference section. One such piece is Association between platelet parameters and mortality in coronavirus disease 2019: Retrospective cohort study.
According to this study, they took in over 383 patients who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and had filtered out additional patients for the reasons quoted from the study: “Only patients with laboratory-confirmed human infection from throat swab specimens were enrolled, and those with malignant tumors, post craniocerebral operation, died on admission, treatment with anti-platelet drugs, and transferred to other medical institutions were excluded.” Records were taken of several medical factors and were used to compile a baseline for their statistical analysis, which was compiled, forming a graphical overview of all these factors in the blood. The study results showed that out of those 383 patients admitted into the hospital for COVID-19 treatment, 68 of those patients had developed ITP as a result of this viral transmission. Their findings ultimately found that patients with ITP had lower white blood cell, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts and had higher counts of procalcitonin and C-reactive proteins when related to ITP free patients. It was also concluded that the mortality rate was higher in patients who developed ITP when compared to non-ITP patients. In this report, the writers expressed their regret over the death of some of these patients and once more stated that they obtained consent for the patients they selected for this observational study.
In conclusion, data suggests a link between ITP and the COVID-19 virus as there have been multiple instances of ITP developing in the presence of the COVID-19 pathogen. There has been a worrying trend in mortality rates increase and the rise of cases of ITP developing in patients with this virus. To further back this concept, sources such as self.com and pdsa.org confirm that this autoimmune disorder can develop due to a viral or bacterial infection. Patients being afflicted with this condition in conjunction with this dangerous virus in conjunction with an increased risk of internal bleeding with a virus that is already capable of causing bleeding of the lungs. Until a vaccine for COVID-19 is effectively developed and administered, this blood disorder’s development will continue. It will ultimately drive more significant harm to these victims. Now, this disorder may be tacked by those infected with this virus. It would be adding a more substantial risk for death to occur even after being treated for the disease.
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- Braithwaite P. Everything You Should Know About the Condition That Makes You Bruise Like a Peach. SELF. [accessed 2021 Feb 25]. https://www.self.com/story/what-causes-itp.
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- Lévesque V, Millaire É, Corsilli D, Rioux-Massé B, Carrier F-M. 2020. Severe immune thrombocytopenic purpura in critical COVID-19. Int J Hematol. 112(5):746–750. doi:10.1007/s12185-020-02931-9.
- Liu Y, Sun W, Guo Y, Chen L, Zhang L, Zhao S, Long D, Yu L. 2020. Association between platelet parameters and mortality in coronavirus disease 2019: Retrospective cohort study. Platelets. 31(4):490–496. doi:10.1080/09537104.2020.1754383.
- Neunert C, Terrell DR, Arnold DM, Buchanan G, Cines DB, Cooper N, Cuker A, Despotovic JM, George JN, Grace RF, et al. 2019. American Society of Hematology 2019 guidelines for immune thrombocytopenia. Blood Advances. 3(23):3829–3866. doi:10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000966.
- Platelet Disorder Support Association – for People with ITP – What is ITP? [accessed 2021 Feb 25]. https://pdsa.org/what-is-itp.html.
- Zainal A, Salama A, Alweis R. 2019. Immune thrombocytopenic purpura. Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives. 9(1):59–61. doi:10.1080/20009666.2019.1565884.