Beyond the lungs: How Coronavirus can affect your body
New Delhi, Mar 12: The novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world since the first case was identified in central China in December, leading to an outbreak that the World Health Organization has called a pandemic.
With the number of coronavirus cases crossing over 125,865 and 4,615 people have died globally, Scientists have revealed how the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 binds with human respiratory cells in order to hijack them to produce more viruses.
According to a research, in order to infect a human host, the viruses must be able to gain entry into individual human cells with the tiny molecular key called a spike protein, or S-protein. Once the S-protein grabs ACE2 receptor protein (which is on the surfaces of respiratory cells) the virus can enter easily. These viruses then use these cells' machinery to produce copies of themselves, which then spill out and spread to new cells.
However, the main question arises here is whether the coronavirus infect only the lungs?
The answer is No.
According to Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, chief clinical officer at Providence St. Joseph Health, the infection can spread through the mucous membranes, from the nose down to the rectum. Yes you read it right.
While the virus appears to zero in on the lungs, it may also be able to infect cells in the gastrointestinal system too, but there isn't enough information yet to be sure. But the patients may have symptoms like diarrhea or indigestion. The virus is also able to get into the bloodstream.
Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the RNA from the new coronavirus has been detected in blood and stool specimens, but that it's unclear whether infectious virus can persist in blood or stool.
Dr. George Diaz of Providence Regional Medical Center treated the first case of coronavirus in the U.S said that the Bone marrow and organs like the liver can become inflamed too.
It is learnt that as the body's immune system shifts into high gear to battle the coronavirus infection, the resulting inflammation may cause those organs to malfunction aas a result some patients may damage their own immune system that is inflicted not just by the virus.
Experts have not yet documented whether the virus can affect the brain. But scientists who studied SARS have reported some evidence that the SARS virus could infiltrate the brain in some patients.