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HOW DOES COVID-19 AFFECT THE BODY?

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HOW DOES COVID-19 AFFECT THE BODY?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of viruses that cause sicknesses like the common cold, as well as more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain – one that hasn’t previously been recognized in humans.
Coronaviruses cause diseases in mammals and birds. A zoonotic virus is one that is transmitted between animals and people. When a virus circulating in animal populations infects people, this is termed a “spillover event”.
How does CoVID-19 affect the body? The virus is fitted with protein spikes sticking out of the envelope that forms the surface and houses a core of genetic material. Any virus that enters your body looks for cells with compatible receptors – ones that allow it to invade the cell. Once they find the right cell, they enter and use the cell’s replication machinery to create copies of themselves. It is likely that COVID-19 uses the same receptor as SARS – found in both lungs and small intestines.
It is thought that CoVID-19 shares many similarities with SARS, which has three phases of attack: viral replication, hyper-reactivity of the immune system, and finally pulmonary destruction. Early on in infection, the coronavirus invades two types of cells in the lungs – mucus and cilia cells. Mucus keeps your lungs from drying out and protects them from pathogens. Cilia beat the mucus towards the exterior of your body, clearing debris – including viruses! – out of your lungs. Cilia cells were the preferred hosts of SARS-CoV, and are likely the preferred hosts of the new coronavirus. When these cells die, they slough off into your airways, filling them with debris and fluid. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. Many of those infected get pneumonia in both their lungs.
Enter the immune system. Immune cells recognize the virus and flood into the lungs. The lung tissue becomes inflamed. During normal immune function, the inflammatory process is highly regulated and is confined to infected areas. However, sometimes the immune system overreacts, and this results in damage to healthy tissue. More cells die and slough off into the lungs, further clogging them and worsening the pneumonia.
As damage to the lungs increases, stage three begins, potentially resulting in respiratory failure. Patients that reach this stage of infection can incur permanent lung damage or even die. We see the same lesions in the lungs of those infected by the novel coronavirus as those with SARS. SARS creates holes in the lungs, so they look honeycomb-like. This is probably due to the aforementioned over-reactive immune response, which affects tissue both infected and healthy and creates scars that stiffen the lungs. As such, some patients may require ventilators to aid breathing.
The inflammation also results in more permeable alveoli. This is the location of the thin interface of gas exchange, where your lungs replace carbon dioxide in your blood with fresh oxygen you just inhaled. Increased permeability causes fluid to leak into the lungs. This decreases the lungs’ ability to oxygenate blood, and in severe cases, floods them so that you become unable to breathe. Sometimes, this can be fatal.
The immune system’s over-reaction can also cause another kind of damage. Proteins called cytokines are the immune system’s alarm system, recruiting immune cells to the infection site. Over-production of cytokines can result in a cytokine storm, where there is large-scale inflammation in the body. Blood vessels become more permeable and fluid seeps out. This makes it difficult for blood and oxygen to reach the rest of the body and can result in multi-organ failure. This has happened in the most severe cases of CoVid-19. Although there are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, symptoms can be treated through supportive care. Also, vaccines are currently in development.
What can you do to protect yourself from CoVid-19? Basic protocol comes down to regular hand washing, avoiding close contact with anyone coughing or sneezing, avoiding unnecessary contact with animals, washing hands after contact with animals, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs prior to consumption, and covering your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. Respiratory viruses are typically transmitted via droplets in sneezes or coughs of those infected, so preventing their travel stops the spread of disease.

Alveoli model from:
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How COVID-19 Affects the Body

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COVID-19 is the short name for the disease known as novel coronavirus disease 2019. Coronaviruses are a large group of similar viruses. Some are known to infect humans, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. The one that causes COVID-19 is called SARS-CoV-2. All coronaviruses are named for the crown-like “spikes” that cover their surface, called spike, or “S,” proteins. Inside the virus, genetic material, called RNA, is made up of genes. Genes carry the information to make more copies of the virus. The virus can infect you if it enters your mouth, nose, or lungs. Inside your body, the S protein of the virus locks to a receptor on the surface of one of your cells. This can trigger the virus to enter the cell in a couple of ways. It may cause the virus to fuse with the cell surface, then release its genes into the cell. Or, the cell may pull the virus inside by enclosing it in a sac. Once inside, the virus can fuse to the sac and release its genes. Next, the genes use a structure in your cell, called a ribosome, to make new copies of the virus. The new viruses travel to the surface of the cell. There, they can leave to infect more cells. In the meantime, viral S proteins left on the surface of the infected cell can cause it to fuse with nearby healthy cells, forming a giant cell. This may be another way for the virus to spread between cells. People may be infected with COVID-19 for two to fourteen days before symptoms appear. The three main symptoms of COVID-19 are: a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include: tiredness, body aches, stuffy nose, sore throat, diarrhea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and loss of smell. Most people have a mild illness and can recover at home. Some people who have the virus may not get sick at all or may show no symptoms. But, if you have trouble breathing, or any other symptoms that are severe, call your doctor or the emergency room. They will tell you what to do. For most people who have the virus, the risk for serious illness is thought to be low. People sixty-five years and older may have a higher risk for serious illness. And, people of any age may be at high-risk if they have underlying conditions, such as: chronic lung disease or asthma; serious heart conditions; diabetes; severe obesity; chronic kidney disease, and liver disease. High-risk groups also include people with a weakened immune system, including: those on certain medications, such as corticosteroids; people in cancer treatment; and those with HIV or AIDS. Even if you aren’t in a high-risk group, it’s important to practice social distancing, which means keeping at least two meters, or six feet, between you and other people. This helps prevent infections and serious illness in others as well as yourself. For up-to-date information about COVID-19 and other ways to prevent its spread, visit the CDC website.

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Coronavirus Animation: High Impact Demonstrates How COVID-19 Impacts the Body

Coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, originated in the city of Wuhan, China, and has since spread across the globe at an alarming rate. We produced this 3D coronavirus animation to show how COVID-19 is believed to be transmitted while educating the public on the symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19.

Most people who contract COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, such as sore throat, headache, fever, a dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. However, in a subset of patients, the virus attacks the lungs, causing a more serious infection, such as pneumonia.

Small air sacs in the lungs add oxygen to your blood cell. This oxygen is then transported to organs and tissues throughout the body. When the coronavirus attaches to a cell, it begins to replicate within the cell.

The body’s immune system attempts to destroy the virus, which results in an inflammatory response that causes fluid accumulation in the lungs. As the lungs fill with fluid, the body’s available oxygen decreases, which can lead to organ injury and death.

The risk of serious complications increases if a person is elderly or has associated medical conditions. Once infected, a person may show no symptoms, but can still infect others.
What began in Wuhan has now spread across the globe as international efforts to contain the virus and minimize its spread to the larger population continue.

Follow the World Health Organization for updates about the international spread of Coronavirus and how to protect yourself from COVID-19:


Follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn how the coronavirus outbreak is currently spreading across the United States, and recommendations for improving your safety and resilience.


If you are currently leading government or private efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak and you think our visualizations could help in your mission to educate the public or relevant stakeholders about this virus, we encourage you to visit our website, view some of our medical work, and reach out to learn how we can help.
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How does Coronavirus affect our lungs?

We spoke to Professor Debby Bogaert, Scottish Senior Clinical Fellow and Honorary Consultant in paediatric infectious diseases at the University of Edinburgh about the effect of COVID-19 on our respiratory system.

To contact The Physiological Society:
pressoffice@physoc.org

Transcript
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new type of coronavirus, but what is the respiratory system and how is it affected by COVID-19? We spoke to Professor Debby Bogaert, Scottish Senior Clinical Fellow and Honorary Consultant in paediatric infectious diseases at Edinburgh University.

Our respiratory system is a series of organs responsible for taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide, also known as gas exchange. Professor Bogaert told us that when we become infected with COVID-19, it can cause an infection of part of this respiratory system known as the respiratory tree, which is found in our lungs. The respiratory tree, also called the bronchial tree, is a name given to the branch-like structure in our lungs which includes the bronchi right down to the tiny air sacs called alveoli. Professor Bogaert goes on to say that when we contract COVID-19 the lining of the respiratory tree typically becomes damaged, irritating the nerves in the lining of the airway, and causing that dry cough we’ve heard about. However for a small number of people, the infection can cause more severe problems by affecting what’s known as ‘gas exchange’. Gas exchange happens around the alveoli, those tiny air sacs at the tips of the respiratory tree - oxygen passes into the blood and carbon dioxide passes from the blood into the alveoli and is then exhaled - Professor Bogaert says that if COVID-19 affects this process, our body becomes less able to take on oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide over time, and some people will need a ventilator to help them breathe.
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Understanding the extent of damage COVID-19 does to the body

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to surge worldwide, health experts are learning more about the extent of the damage COVID-19 can do. The lungs have been considered ground zero, but now doctors are finding its reach extends to other organs. Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a New York pulmonologist and intensive care specialist, joined CBSN to break it all down.

Understanding the Virus that Causes COVID-19, Animation

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Coronaviruses are a large family of enveloped, RNA viruses. There are 4 groups of coronaviruses: alpha and beta, originated from bats and rodents; and gamma and delta, originated from avian species. Coronaviruses are responsible for a wide range of diseases in many animals, including livestock and pets. In humans, they were thought to cause mild, self-limiting respiratory infections until 2002, when a beta-coronavirus crossed species barriers from bats to a mammalian host, before jumping to humans, causing the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS, epidemic. More recently, another beta-coronavirus is responsible for the serious Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, MERS, started in 2012. The novel coronavirus responsible for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic, COVID-19, is also a beta-coronavirus. The genome of the virus is fully sequenced and appears to be most similar to a strain in bats, suggesting that it also originated from bats. The virus is also very similar to the SARS-coronavirus and is therefore named SARS-coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV 2. At the moment, it’s not yet clear if the virus jumped directly from bats to humans, or if there is a mammalian intermediate host.
Coronavirus genome is a large, single-stranded, positive-sense RNA molecule that contains all information necessary for the making of viral components. The RNA is coated with structural proteins, forming a complex known as nucleocapsid. The nucleocapsid is enclosed in an envelope, which is basically a LIPID membrane with embedded proteins. From the envelope, club-like spikes emanate, giving the appearance of a crown. This is where the “corona” name came from.
The integrity of the envelope is essential for viral infection, and is the Achilles’ heel of the virus, because the lipid membrane can easily be destroyed by lipid solvents such as detergents, alcohol and some disinfectants. In fact, enveloped viruses are the easiest to inactivate when they are outside a host.
In order to infect a host cell, the spikes of the virus must BIND to a molecule on the cell surface, called a receptor. The specificity of this binding explains why viruses are usually species specific – they have receptors in certain species, and not others. Host jumping is usually triggered by mutations in spike proteins which change them in a way that they now can bind to a receptor in a new species.
The novel coronavirus appears to use the same receptor as SARS-coronavirus for entry to human cells, and that receptor is the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, ACE2. Infection usually starts with cells of the respiratory mucosa, then spreads to epithelial cells of alveoli in the lungs.
Receptor binding is followed by fusion of the viral membrane with host cell membrane, and the release of nucleocapsid into the cell. The virus then uses the host machinery to replicate, producing viral RNAs and proteins. These are then assembled into new viral particles, called virions, by budding into intracellular membranes. The new virions are released and the host cell dies.
Uncontrolled growth of the virus destroys respiratory tissues, producing symptoms. Infection triggers the body’s inflammatory response, which brings immune cells to the site to fight the virus. While inflammation is an important defense mechanism, it may become excessive and cause damage to the body’s own tissues, contributing to the severity of the disease. In an otherwise healthy person, there is a good chance that the virus is eventually eliminated and the patient recovers, although some may require supportive treatments. On the other hand, people with weakened immune system or underlying chronic diseases may progress to severe pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome, which can be fatal.

How Coronavirus (COVID-19) Invades the Lungs

To learn more about coronavirus, please visit

The coronavirus rapidly hijacks healthy cells in the respiratory tract and lungs. This can lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). See how coronavirus takes over the lungs in this informative video.

How Coronavirus Attacks the Body | NYT News

It doesn’t take long for mild coronavirus symptoms to turn serious. These virtual reality images show how the virus can invade the lungs and kill.

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COVID-19 Animation: What Happens If You Get Coronavirus?

This video 3D animation on COVID-19: What Happens If You Get Coronavirus is a collaboration between Nucleus Medical Media and our friends at the What If Channel. To watch super interesting hypothetical scenarios on the human body, humanity, the planet and the cosmos, please visit the What If Channel at

How coronavirus affects the human body

At least 89 people in the United States have been sickened with coronavirus across 12 states. Dr. Tara Narula joins “CBS This Morning” to talk about how infectious the disease is and how it affects the human body.

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What happens to your body when you have COVID-19?

As the number of cases of COVID-19 rises, experts continue to learn more about the disease. They know that symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. But what does the virus do inside your body to cause those symptoms?

Dr. Neal Patel, a Mayo Clinic pulmonary and critical care medicine specialist, says that like most viruses, the virus that causes COVID-19 enters the body when you breathe it in through the mouth or nose. It also may enter through the eyes.

Once it enters into the body, many different things happen, says Dr. Patel. Initially, the virus can cause some damage locally where it enters. Then it moves further into the respiratory system. Initial symptoms

If the virus enters through your nose, you may notice typical symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection, such as a runny nose or nasal congestion, says Dr. Patel.The virus may stop there or may continue down the respiratory tract, where it can cause issues such as coughing.

Immune system response

There is an initial immune response when a virus enters a body for the first time, says Dr. Patel. It's a generic response where the immune system turns on and says: 'You're not supposed to be here. I'm going to try to kill you.' It’s not a very robust response, but it is something.

As your immune system revs up, you build more antibodies through a process called 'adaptive immunity,' says Dr. Patel. You build an army to take down this virus. There are times when the virus finds its way into the lower respiratory tract and causes lots of damage. Unfortunately, our body's response to kill that virus in the lower respiratory tract can cause a lot of collateral damage. Sometimes it's an exaggerated response, kind of like bringing an army to kill an ant.

Difficulty breathing

The lung function deteriorates, says Dr. Patel. The ability to get oxygen in and out of the bloodstream becomes affected. Your muscles may become impaired and you get fatigued trying to inhale and exhale against lungs that aren’t working too well.

Dr. Patels says that the virus can lead to inflammation of the lower respiratory tract, and in severe cases, a pneumonia can develop.

Need for hospitalization

That type of patient may require some help, says Dr. Patel. Mechanical ventilation, or a ventilator, is how we help that patient to rest a little bit. It allows them to get the oxygen they need so the body can work to calm this down and hopefully get rid of the virus.

The virus also may cause gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea.

Check the CDC website for additional updates on COVID-19.
For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

How Coronavirus Kills: Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) & COVID 19 Treatment

How COVID-19 causes fatalities from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) by pulmonologist and critical care specialist Dr. Seheult of
This video illustrates how viruses such as the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can cause pneumonia or widespread lung inflammation resulting in ARDS.
Includes evidenced-based ARDS treatment breakthrough strategies: Low tidal volume ventilation, paralysis, and prone positioning.

Note: this video was recorded on January 28, 2020, with the best information available. Acute respiratory distress is, of course, not the ONLY way COVID 19 causes fatalities (other causes include heart failure, thrombosis (stroke), etc.)

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Topics from our COVID-19 pandemic series include: coronavirus spread, How Hospitals & Clinics Can Prepare for COVID-19, The ACE-2 Receptor - The Doorway to COVID-19 (ACE Inhibitors & ARBs), Flatten The COVID-19 Curve, Social Distancing, New Outbreaks & Travel Restrictions, Possible COVID-19 Treatments, Italy Lockdown, Global Testing Remains Limited, Coronavirus Epidemic Update 32: Data from South Korea, Can Zinc Help Prevent corona virus? Mortality Rate, Cleaning Products, A More/Less Severe Virus Strain? More Global COVID-19 Outbreaks, Vitamin D May Aid Prevention, Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), Rapid antigen tests, mutations, COVID-19 in Iran & more.

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Corona Virus Disease / COVID-19: Sahi aur Galath coronavirus disease ke baare me ( HINDI ) - Part 1

How to Obtain a Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimen for COVID-19 suspected patients
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Corona Virus Disease / COVID-19: Facts and figures for Public Awareness

How COVID-19 Spreads
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Person-to-person spread
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Respirators
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Should I wear a respirator in public?
CDC does not recommend the routine use of respirators outside of workplace settings (in the community). Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet). CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as avoiding people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes or nose, and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue. People who are sick should stay home and not go into crowded public places or visit people in hospitals. Workers who are sick should follow CDC guidelines and stay home when they are sick.
What is a respirator?
A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth. A respirator is used to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles (including infectious agents), gases or vapors. Respirators, including those intended for use in healthcare settings, are certified by the CDC/NIOSH.
What is an N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR)?
An N95 FFR is a type of respirator which removes particles from the air that are breathed through it. These respirators filter out at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles. N95 FFRs are capable of filtering out all types of particles, including bacteria and viruses.

Checklist to Get Ready
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As a family, you can plan and make decisions now that will protect you and your family during a COVID-19 outbreak.

Stay informed and in touch
Get up-to-date information about local COVID-19 activity from public health officials
Ask your neighbors what their plan includes.
Create a list of local organizations you and your household can contact in case you need access to information, healthcare services, support, and resources.
Create an emergency contact list including family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.
Prepare for possible illness
Consider members of the household that may be at greater risk such as older adults and people with severe chronic illnesses.
Choose a room in your house that can be used to separate sick household members from others.
Take everyday preventive steps
Wash your hands frequently
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces Be prepared if your child’s school or childcare facility is temporarily dismissed or for potential changes at your workplace.

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What COVID-19 Does To Your Body

Which organs does COVID-19 affect the most?

Coronavirus spares no major organ in the body. For some patients, the virus spreads its lethal tentacles to multiple organs. If the virus is not detected in the initial stage, it invades the lower respiratory tract.

The lungs are just the ground zero. Other organs that can be affected include the heart and blood vessels, kidneys, gut, and brain. The virus enters the cells by binding to receptors angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 or ACE2 which are found on it.

These receptors act as the site of entry and are found in the cells of multiple organs, making it easy for the virus to enter.
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How COVID-19 Affects The Brain

A lot of the information we hear about COVID-19 surrounds how the virus impacts your lungs or how the pandemic has ravaged society due to quarantine. But what about your brain? Might coronavirus have an effect there, too? Come along with Alie Astrocyte to learn about which symptoms might be indicative of the neurological effects of COVID.

Micah's Social Distancing Video:

Sources:
Encephalitis. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Apr. 2020. Web.
Fazakerley, John K., and Robert Walker. Virus Demyelination. Journal of Neurovirology 9.2 (2003): 148-64. Print.
The Inflamed Brain. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 04 June 2019. Web.
Kabbani, Nadine, and James L. Olds. Does COVID19 Infect the Brain? If So, Smokers Might Be at a Higher Risk. Molecular Pharmacology 97.5 (2020): 351-53. Print.
Molteni, Megan. What Does Covid-19 Do to Your Brain? Wired. Conde Nast. Web.
Troyer, Emily A., Jordan N. Kohn, and Suzi Hong. Are We Facing a Crashing Wave of Neuropsychiatric Sequelae of COVID-19? Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Potential Immunologic Mechanisms. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (2020). Print.
Wadman, Meredith, Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, Jocelyn Kaiser, and Catherine MatacicApr. How Does Coronavirus Kill? Clinicians Trace a Ferocious Rampage through the Body, from Brain to Toes. Science. 17 Apr. 2020. Web.
Yan, Carol H., Farhoud Faraji, Divya P. Prajapati, Christine E. Boone, and Adam S. Deconde. Association of Chemosensory Dysfunction and Covid-19 in Patients Presenting with Influenza-like Symptoms. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology (2020). Print.
Yeager, Ashley. Can the Flu and Other Viruses Cause Neurodegeneration? The Scientist Magazine. Web.
Yeager, Ashley. Lost Smell and Taste Hint COVID-19 Can Target the Nervous System. The Scientist Magazine. Web.

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How does COVID-19 affect the heart?

The effects of COVID-19 on the lungs are well-known. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more information is becoming available about the role the virus, called SARS-CoV-2, has on the heart. Individuals with known cardiovascular disease are at an increased risk of more severe complications from respiratory viral illnesses, including the flu and COVID-19, says Dr. Leslie Cooper, chair of the Department of Cardiology at Mayo Clinic.

We know that during severe SARS-CoV-2 infection, heart function may decrease. Sometimes this decrease is a consequence of the systemic inflammatory response to infection, and occasionally, in some people, because of direct viral infection in the heart.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): pathogenesis, signs & symptomps, everything you need to know

Everything you need to know about coronavirus -19 : signs and symptoms of COVID19 (coronavirus). How to protect yourself from coronavirus -19. The myths and wrong facts about COVID-19 that is circulating around.

This video traces the outbreak day by day from the end of 2019 through to February 2020, following its path from patient zero to cases in the UK, France and the USA - and what might happen next. From the first reports connected to a market in Wuhan to cases across the globe, we chart the first month of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, that has now infected more than 40,000 people. The death toll in China is now more than 1,000.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of viruses that cause sicknesses like the common cold, as well as more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain – one that hasn’t previously been recognized in humans.
Coronaviruses cause diseases in mammals and birds. A zoonotic virus is one that is transmitted between animals and people. When a virus circulating in animal populations infects people, this is termed a “spillover event”.
How does CoVID-19 affect the body? The virus is fitted with protein spikes sticking out of the envelope that forms the surface and houses a core of genetic material. Any virus that enters your body looks for cells with compatible receptors – ones that allow it to invade the cell. Once they find the right cell, they enter and use the cell’s replication machinery to create copies of themselves. It is likely that COVID-19 uses the same receptor as SARS – found in both lungs and small intestines.
It is thought that CoVID-19 shares many similarities with SARS, which has three phases of attack: viral replication, hyper-reactivity of the immune system, and finally pulmonary destruction. Early on in infection, the coronavirus invades two types of cells in the lungs – mucus and cilia cells. Mucus keeps your lungs from drying out and protects them from pathogens. Cilia beat the mucus towards the exterior of your body, clearing debris – including viruses! – out of your lungs. Cilia cells were the preferred hosts of SARS-CoV, and are likely the preferred hosts of the new coronavirus. When these cells die, they slough off into your airways, filling them with debris and fluid. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. Many of those infected get pneumonia in both their lungs.
Enter the immune system. Immune cells recognize the virus and flood into the lungs. The lung tissue becomes inflamed. During normal immune function, the inflammatory process is highly regulated and is confined to infected areas. However, sometimes the immune system overreacts, and this results in damage to healthy tissue. More cells die and slough off into the lungs, further clogging them and worsening the pneumonia.
As damage to the lungs increases, stage three begins, potentially resulting in respiratory failure. Patients that reach this stage of infection can incur permanent lung damage or even die. We see the same lesions in the lungs of those infected by the novel coronavirus as those with SARS. SARS creates holes in the lungs, so they look honeycomb-like. This is probably due to the aforementioned over-reactive immune response, which affects tissue both infected and healthy and creates scars that stiffen the lungs. As such, some patients may require ventilators to aid breathing.
The inflammation also results in more permeable alveoli. This is the location of the thin interface of gas exchange, where your lungs replace carbon dioxide in your blood with fresh oxygen you just inhaled. Increased permeability causes fluid to leak into the lungs. This decreases the lungs’ ability to oxygenate blood, and in severe cases, floods them so that you become unable to breathe. Sometimes, this can be fatal.
The immune system’s over-reaction can also cause another kind of damage. Proteins called cytokines are the immune system’s alarm system, recruiting immune cells to the infection site. Over-production of cytokines can result in a cytokine storm, where there is large-scale inflammation in the body. Blood vessels become more permeable and fluid seeps out. This makes it difficult for blood and oxygen to reach the rest of the body and can result in multi-organ failure. This has happened in the most severe cases of CoVid-19. Although there are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, symptoms can be treated through supportive care. Also, vaccines are currently in development.
What can you do to protect yourself from CoVid-19? Basic protocol comes down to regular hand washing, avoiding close contact with anyone coughing or sneezing, avoiding unnecessary contact with animals, washing hands after contact with animals, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs prior to consumption, and covering your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.e.

How does coronavirus attack the body?

Sky's Rowland Manthorpe has been looking at how COVID-19 affects the body and what happens if you end up in hospital.

Sky News videos are now available in Spanish here/Los video de Sky News están disponibles en español aquí

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What does Covid-19 do to the body? - BBC World Service

Covid-19 can affect the lungs, mind, immune system and many other parts of the body.

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Covid-19 affects people very differently. For some, a fever, cough and breathlessness are as bad as it gets but others can be hospitalised for weeks as the virus takes hold. Covid-19 can affect the lungs and the body’s immune system, and can even lead to strokes and psychosis. Breathing problems and post-viral fatigue last for months in some cases. We still don’t know how anyone will react to Covid-19 until they get it but it’s obvious the effects can be devastating and that all health guidance should be followed.

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