April: Coronavirus Explained Medically in Simple Terms

April: Coronavirus Explained Medically in Simple Terms

A Few Facts First…

1. Full Virus Name: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Related Coronavirus 2

2. Popular Name: Coronavirus

3. Associated Disease: COVID-19 (the 19 stands for the virus mutation uncovered in 2019)

4. Why Corona: The spikes that surround the virus cell are equated to a crown (of thorns) or a corona (a halo of light, like the one surrounding the Sun). These ‘thorns’ are actually protein material.

5. Asymptomatic: When you are infected and show no symptoms.

…Followed by Some Myth Busting…

  • It is not a flu or like the flu. It certainly looks more infectious. And we’ll have to asses if more deadly after the total numbers are in and all things considered are computed.
  • Becoming infected (anew or again) does not mean you have it for life.
  • The home-spawn test of holding your breath for 10 seconds without coughing DOES NOT mean you are not infected with coronavirus or, for that matter, that you are free from other lung diseases.
  • Boozing up is not a defense against coronavirus. On the contrary, abusing alcohol can lead to more problems, as we very well know.
  • Evidence so far indicates that coronavirus can be transmitted in all areas of the world, wet, dry, cold or hot. So, exposing yourself to sun-basking sessions at temperatures over 25ºC (77ºF) or to extreme cold does nothing whatsoever.

…And finally, the Medical-Scientific Summary of the Workings of the Coronavirus

The coronavirus is an outer shell or hull containing genetic material and a few proteins. It reproduces by entering another living cell. The main channel of human infection are the droplets an infected person expels when coughing or speaking. They settle on surfaces, organic or non-organic—nobody knows yet for how long. We touch these surfaces, then ourselves, preferably on the face and mucus membranes, and may become infected. Preferred virus targets are lungs, spleen or intestines. The virus attaches to a receptor on cell membranes and discharges genetic material. Infected cells start multiplying. When this reaches a critical point (millions of infected cells), cells self-destruct and release millions of corona particles to attack other cells. Here comes the tricky part! Your immune system gets activated in full alert mode. As these benign cells make their way to do their thing, corona infects some before they can even get started. This causes massive confusion and can make you immune system work against, rather than for you. The virus creates a frenzy and the immune system sends in more soldiers than it should, causing pandemonium. Specifically, two cells do the most damage:

(a) Neutrophiles, which are MVPs at killing stuff… including ourselves. They start releasing enzymes which kill as many friends as foes.

(b) Killer T Cells. These guys tell infected cells to auto-destruct. But with the ongoing confusion, they actually start ordering healthy cells to commit suicide.

More immune cells arrive and more healthy tissue is depleted. Things can get really dire and cause permanent damage. Patients normally recover as the immune system regains control. But some severe cases may lead to death from respiratory insufficiency. Also, the defense system is so damaged that bacteria, which were not a problem up to this point, are free to roam. They go in unannounced and populate the organ. The immune system, still occupied and faltering after the long battle against the virus, has no fighting capacity against the buildup of bacteria. If these get into the blood stream en masse, it is very likely that the patient will die from sepsis.

Science and human ingenuity have come to the rescue oh so many times… and they will again. This is the message of hope we wish to convey. Just follow the cues from serious and official medical organizations like the WHO and others, wash your hands often and thoroughly, cough against your forearm, keep a healthy 2-yard distance when standing next to other people, and heed the advice of doctors and authorities in general concerning staying in and possible confinement programs.




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