Long Covid could be caused by an overload of tiny clots 'trapped' inside people's blood weeks after they clear the initial infection, scientists say.
The small study found patients who are 'long haulers' have a large amount of inflammatory molecules trapped in their bloodstream.
These blockages have the potential to disrupt the body's ability to distribute oxygen and vital nutrients, they said.
It could explain long Covid's most common symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches and breathing difficulties.
The South African researcher who made the discovery said the micro clots may be the cause of long Covid or one of several contributing factors.
A scientist has found long Covid patients have micro clots in their blood months after the initial infection. On the left is an image of healthy blood plasma (blood plasma is the largest type of fluid which forms blood, accounting for 55 per cent of the total) and on the right is an image of one of the micro clots found in the blood. The material contained in both samples were highlighted using florescent materials for analysis.
The South African researcher who made the discovery said the micro clots may be the cause of long Covid or one of several contributing factors (file)
The new discovery came from Professor Resia Pretorius from the department of physiological science at Stellenbosch University.
Professor Pretorius compared blood collected from 11 people with long Covid and 13 healthy individuals.
Most coronavirus patients will recover within