LivingThis is how the coronavirus infects the human body

This is how the coronavirus infects the human body

With more than 126,000 cases of the new coronavirus worldwide and more than 4,600 deaths (as of this writing), experts are sounding the alarm about the potential for widespread community transmission at the local level . The coronavirus is officially a respiratory infection, which means it affects the lungs and airways, but what is the potential for the virus to reach pandemic proportions through its unique ability to attack the human body?

Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention around the world say that humans should prepare for a “significant disruption of our lives.”


How does the human body attack?

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published clinical details on the first 72,000 patients diagnosed as of February 11, 2020 with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that attacks the human body.

COVID-19 is “similar to but different from” severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), allowing scientists to use what we already know about SARS to gain valuable information about the new coronavirus. Like the flu, COVID-19 starts in the lungs and spreads through droplets of water when someone sneezes or coughs . Although, according to a recent study, it appears that it can also be spread through feces . It could be another vehicle of contagion, since it seems that the coronavirus can survive in the air for at least 30 minutes and spread up to 4.5 meters – much further than the safety distance recommended by health authorities around the world-, although more research is needed. Its survival is also under study outside the body, as it can remain for days on the surfaces where the infected respiratory droplets fall , which increase the risk of contagion only by touching these surfaces and then putting the hands to the face. (Hence the importance of washing hands profusely).



The WHO has exposed that SARS attacks the body in three phases: viral replication, immune hyperactivity and lung destruction, which seems to be similar to how it also attacks COVID-19.

Early studies suggest that COVID-19 replicates efficiently in the upper respiratory tract. Then, infected people produce a large amount of the virus at the beginning of the infection, which, if we add it to the fact that the average incubation period is 5.1 days, they can spend all this time contributing to the infection and spreading the virus while they lead a normal life – in the absence of symptoms.

Its journey begins and ends in the lungs, but some patients have had problems related to the stomach, bloodstream, liver, and kidney.

Patterns of infection

COVID-19 occurs in three infection patterns:

  1. Mild upper respiratory tract illness and symptoms
  2. Non-fatal pneumonia.
  3. Severe pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome can progress rapidly and sometimes requires life support.

When the body becomes infected, the body triggers a cytokine response in which immune cells attack the virus. In some cases and for unknown reasons, the virus can trigger an exaggerated response from the immune system, which can further dampen recovery efforts.

The situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. “We hope to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of countries affected increase even more,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the latest COVID-19 news conference. like a pandemic.

The last time the WHO used the word pandemic to describe a rapidly spreading virus was in 2009 , for a strain of H1N1 influenza that killed hundreds of thousands of people in its first year and is now part of the annual cluster of viruses in the United States. influenza . Never before has a coronavirus caused a pandemic.

Experts say that the best protection against COVID-19 are non-pharmaceutical interventions, preventive steps like good hand washing, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue, disinfecting surfaces around the home and workspace, and avoid contact with people who are known to be sick. People with a fever, cough, and shortness of breath should seek medical attention and stay home unless instructed otherwise.

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