We still have a lot to learn from the coronavirus that is tearing apart China today and is gradually spreading to the rest of the world, but one thing is certain that this disease is a real storm for the whole human body.
The virus is no new to us it’s an analogy of the previous zoonotic coronaviruses which pass from animals to humans, the same as SARS and MERS.
At present, it is difficult to predict the monstrosity this epidemic will cause if it continues to spread.
Two weeks prior, a renowned epidemiologist from the University of Hong Kong asserted that COVID-19 could infect nearly 60% of the Earth if left unattended.
However, one question remains unanswered: what are the effects of coronavirus on your body?
LUNGS: THE ZERO POINT
As analyzed and monitored in a greater portion of the society, COVID-19 starts and ends in the lungs, like influenza, as it shares similar symptoms of flu and doesn’t even give a chance to call it as a deadly virus.
It usually spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes, causing droplets that can spread the virus to nearby people.
Likewise, after normal flu symptoms, an affected person suffers from fever or cough, at first, which then progresses to pneumonia or worse.
The corona is the only virus seen, changing its traits where not all patients have experienced these initial stages. Only 25% of SARS sufferers have suffered from respiratory failure, the most common condition.
Similarly, and according to the data communicated to date, COVID-19 causes moderate symptoms in approximately 82% of the cases, the remaining 18% having a severe or critical form of the disease.
In the first days of human infection, COVID-19 quickly invades lung cells. We categorize the targeted cells into two distinct varieties:
#1 Those that produce mucus and
#2 Cell cilia, those possessing small, hair-like filaments
By entering the body through the nose, eyes, or mouth, COVID-19 seeks above all to attach itself to the cells of the respiratory tract which produce a protein called ACE2.
Once attached to one of them, the two membranes of oily lipid molecules merge and the coronavirus releases DNA-like genetic material called RNA.
The infected cell then makes proteins that will keep the immune system at bay, the infection spreads and the contaminated cells release millions of copies of the virus, before finally breaking down and gradually dying.
In the second phase of our immune system stimulates by a viral intruder in our body, launches the battle against the disease and injects immune cells into the lungs to heal the damaged lung tissues and limit further impairments.
In normal operation, it takes care of this inflammatory process with precision and limits the infected area, but sometimes our immune system comes out of its hinges and these cells destroy everything in their path, including healthy tissue.
Ultimately, the immune response causes more damage than it corrects. It clogs the lungs with more debris and pneumonia gets worse, which makes breathing difficult and can lead to acute, sometimes fatal, respiratory distress.
Chances of death are exponential after it doesn’t occur, then the virus leaves patients to survive with permanent lung failure in the worst case.
According to the WHO, SARS punctures holes in the lungs and makes them look like honeycombs, lesions found in patients infected with COVID-19.
COVID-19 isn’t a small bug to be pissed off easily, it’s out of those uncommon dangers that rarely appear but when ventured, leave adverse aftereffects.
The novel coronavirus can cause some other serious issues in the rest of the human body system because of the immune hyperactivity reaction as stated earlier.
Factually, these three zoonotic coronaviruses show signs of an organism-wide attack:
- A high concentration of liver enzymes,
- Reduced number of white blood cells and platelets, or
- Low blood pressure
In rare cases, patients have suffered from acute renal failure and some have even suffered cardiac arrest.
GESTURES TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Some effective measures reduce the risk of contamination with the new COVID-19 corona virus (first called 2019-nCoV).
To date, these are the same barrier measures as those recommended to protect against the flu virus, namely:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water as soon as they are dirty, but also:
- Besides washing, use a hydro-alcoholic solution to disinfect the hands.
- Use single-use tissues to blow your nose, then throw them in an ideally closed bin and wash your hands.
- Sneeze or cough in the elbow’s crease to avoid contaminating the hands, a major vector for the transmission of microbes.
- Regularly clean surfaces and objects that may be contaminated (mobile phones, door handles, switches, etc.). The COVID-19 virus can survive for a few hours in the environment and up to a few days in wetlands.
- Ventilate your home for at least 2 times 10 minutes each day.
- Do not shake hands, or kiss each other to greet each other
- Limit your outings as much as possible: work (if teleworking is impossible), errands, and medical visits essential.
- Keep a safe distance of at least 1 meter with another person when moving.
HOW TO CURE?
To date, there hasn’t been any specific antidote discovered against the contagious disease. Antibiotics don’t work against this fatal virus because they just kill bacteria.
Medical management, therefore, consists of reducing symptoms such as fever and cough while waiting for the disease to leave the body.
A vaccine could help the body produce antibodies that prevent the virus from infecting human cells.
Therefore dozens of laboratories are working to find this miracle vaccine, like the Pasteur Institute where prototypes have been tested on mice. However, these tests will last at least one month. We will, therefore, have to wait a little longer.