COVID-19: Symptoms and immune system

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By Fast Kashmir on 15/04/2020.

COVID-19: Symptoms and immune system

Dr. Sheikh Arshid/Azad Amin


Srinagar, April 15: Today nearly whole world is suffering from the one of the worst pandemic COVID-19 disease and due to this more than one-third of the world is under strict lockdown as governments urge social distancing to stymie the virus’ spread. The disease is caused by deadly viruses and were first discovered in the 1930s when an acute respiratory infection of domesticated chickens were reported to be caused by infectious bronchitis virus (IBV).But Human coronaviruses were discovered in the 1960s,they vary significantly in risk factor. Some can kill more than 30% of those infected (such as MERS-CoV), and some are relatively harmless, such as the common cold. In December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China, this outbreak was traced to a novel strain of coronavirus, which was given the interim name 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (WHO), later renamed SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Some researchers have suggested the Wuhan Seafood Wholesale Market may not be the original source of viral transmission to humans.

The COVID-19 can be symtomatic and asymtomatic,according to WHO Covid-19 patients show most common symptoms like fever, tiredness, trouble in breathing,blue lips or face, persistant pressure, confusion,excessive drowsiness and dry cough. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but dont develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without the need of special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 person who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty in breathing. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
Asymptomatic Patients don’t have no longer symptoms and can recover from an illness and they feel good in health conditions. A recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, suggested that 78% of people with COVID-19 have no symptoms. Meanwhile, a WHO report found that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe infections and 5% are critical infections.The first confirmation that the novel coronavirus could be transmitted by asymptomatic people came in February, when a case study described a 20-year-old woman from Wuhan, China, who passed the coronavirus to five family members but never got physically sick herself.One potential group of asymptomatic carriers could be children. So far children are among those least affected by the coronavirus but some could be getting very mild infections thus spreading the virus.

Ultimately, widespread antibody testing, which is still not imminent, will be able to tell us how many people have already had COVID-19. This will give a better approximation of the total number of infections. This will be important in making decisions on lifting social distancing measures.For example, if antibody testing suggests that a large proportion of the population had COVID-19 already, there is a smaller chance of asymptomatic and undiagnosed cases spreading the infection once restrictions are lifted. But if only a very small proportion of the population had the infection, then lifting of social distancing measures may have to be delayed until vaccination strategies are ready to be implemented.
The coronavirus pandemic has turned the worlds attention to the immune system, our bodys defence force against disease-causing bacteria, viruses and other organisms that we touch, ingest and inhale every day. The bodys natural barriers against disease-causing intruders for example, our skin, the mucous and hairs in our nose, and the acid in our stomachs are part of our innate immune systems. Adaptive immunity develops over a lifetime of contact with pathogens and vaccines, preparations which help our immune systems to distinguish friend from foe.There has been no concrete study on human immunity to the novel coronavirus so far. But studies of other coronaviruses have led researchers to believe that people who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection will be protected from re-infection for a period of time.
Sometimes  the host immune system response is so strong that its effect can be counterproductive. For example, numerous immune cells can enter our lungs and cause the membrane to thicken through which oxygen normally passes from the air into the blood. The exchange of gases is restricted, and in the worst case, ventilation may be necessary.  The balance between protective and over aggressive immune processes in dealing with the coronavirus is currently a big mystery. This must now be investigated, by(Director of the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at the University of Bonn.)
Virus infected cells of our body produce and release small proteins called interferons, which play a role in immune protection against viruses. Interferons prevent replication of viruses, by directly interfering with their ability to replicate within an infected cell. They also act as signalling molecules that allow infected cells to warn nearby cells of a viral presence this signal makes neighbouring cells increase the numbers of MHC (major histocompatibility complex proteins) class- I molecules upon their surfaces, so that T- cells surveying the area can identify and eliminate the viral infection. Viruses are highly adaptable, and have developed ways to avoid detection by T- cells.  Some viruses stop MHC molecules from getting to the cell surface to display viral peptides. If this happens, the T- cells dont know there are viruses inside the infected cell.
The best way to prevent the spread of infection is to avoid contact with the people who are showing symptoms and the next best thing is to maintain good hygiene and social distancing. Moreover, that wearing mask is mandatory that can prevent the entry of viruses through entry points.

 

Dr. Sheikh Arshid/ Azad Amin
Tral pulwamma

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