Most Coronaviruses do not attack the respiratory system in humans. However, there are 7 types of coronaviruses that do cause lung disease in humans.
Among the 7 human coronavirus infections, 3 can be much more severe causing major outbreaks of fatal pneumonia:
Coronavirus, its expansion.
- In late 2019, the new SARS-CoV2 coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China; (COVID-19)
- In 2012 MERS-CoV was identified as the cause of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
- In 2002 SARS-CoV was identified as the cause of an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
What does Covid-19 or SARS mean?
COVID-19 is an acronym that stands for COronaVIrus Disease of 2019.
SARS = Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
CORONAVIRUS is a more aggressive evolution of the respiratory tract infection than SARS IN 2002 or MERS IN 2012. All of them are – SARS -.
How Covid-19 attacks healthy cells and it reproduces by itself.
Coronavirus Covid-19 attacks cells through the angiotensin2 converting enzyme, it takes advantage of this enzyme to enter into a healthy cell and replicate itself. For every Covid-19 that enters into a healthy cell, thousands of viruses go outside to infect new healthy cells. This new virus is 80% similar to SARS.
How Covid-19 attacks the respiratory system
-The incubation time for COVID-19 is approximately 14 days during which there are no other than the common cold and a runny nose.
Then the virus attacks the human body in “three steps”;
- First, it is concentrated in the throat and with mild symptoms and facilitates the explosive spread of the virus.
- At that time, virus multiplication would be concentrated in the lungs and inflammation begins similarly to the 2002 SARS.
- When the lung membrane begins to inflame, the liquid begins to accumulate, it is no longer possible to remove effectively carbon dioxide or distribute oxygen.
- The membrane hardens (pulmonary fibrosis) and breathing becomes difficult.
A drowning situation begins due to a lack of oxygen intake.
* In addition to the coronavirus problem, an added bacterial infection may manifest due to a weakening of the immune system. ”
What are Coronaviruses made of?
They are made up of genetic material (one or more DNA or RNA molecules) and sometimes viral enzyme, and protected by a lipid (fat) layer.
Viruses are germs that have the ability to mutate, its size is about the same size as the smallest bacteria, and it causes common infectious diseases like the common cold, flu, and warts. Nevertheless, they also cause serious diseases such as HIV, Ebola or the various COVIDs; as well as SARS, MERS and now with this new, more aggressive and lethal virus, the Coronavirus or Covid-19.
Where are they located?
There are hundreds of viruses in mud and marine sediments, but some animals also carry some Coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV associated with civets and MERS-CoV transmitted through dromedaries.
There is no current strong evidence on the possible animal origin of COVID-19.
Virus, since the discovery of their existence and due to their nanometric size, they have been difficult to study their behavior for many decades until the advent of the latest generation of Scanning Electron Microscope.
The Immune system, our primary defense vs Covid-19.
At the time of writing this Post, nobody has been able to present a vaccine for this virus. The most important thing right now is to strengthen our immune system as well as possible, which is our defense system against this type of invaders. Medicinal plants have the ability to improve our body´s immune system.
In the next post, I will give some advice about medicinal plants with verified properties for this task.
The guardians of our immune system; lymphocytes.
In our immune system, there are two blood cells, type B lymphocytes and type T lymphocytes. Type B lymphocytes can produce antibodies, blocking the virus’s ability to spread throughout the body. While the task of T lymphocytes is to recognize infected cells and kill them. Fortunately, in most cases, our immune system is sufficient because the virus does not progress.
Lymphocytes and their life energy, the Interferons.
The effectiveness of Lymphocytes is due to their functionality in secreting Interferon. Interferons get their name for their ability to “interfere” with viral replication by protecting cells from viral infections and triggering antiviral defenses to the other cells.
What the most risk people of being attacked by Covid-19
Covid-19 is especially dangerous for the elderly population.
Those over 70 years are the most vulnerable to this pandemic because their immune system is also aged and consequently the defenses against a viral attack are diminished.
Why Covid-19 attacks the elderly population more?
During the elderly person phase, chronic inflammation occurs such as arthritis but also degenerative processes such as arthrosis. The course also on the respiratory system, the lungs, because as we have seen, the immune defense is due to the production of Interferon and this is quite reduced in the population over the 70s.
Consequently, lymphocytes find it more difficult to kill infected cells by virus.
Elderly people have an increased risk of developing pneumonia after bacterial or viral infections due to the destructive effects of tobacco.
When does our immune system stops working properly?
Many viruses develop strategies to counteract and disrupt these endogenous defense pathways especially in people with a compromised immune system due to:
- a. Drugs (such as corticosteroids or chemotherapy).
- b. Certain diseases, such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or various types of cancer.
- c. Those with poorly developed immune systems, such as newborns and young children.
- d. People having an impaired immune system from a serious illness.
- e. Alcoholism, smoking, are well known they are associated with an abnormal immune response leading to an increased risk of serious infections.
- f. People with diabetes can manifest high levels of glucose that “alter” their immune system and block it from detecting and fighting both bacterial and viral infections.
- g. Heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, since these circumstances weaken the defense mechanisms of the lungs or the immune system.
- h. Advanced age (being over 65 years old).
Antivirals, Antibiotics or Anti-inflammatories?
Until now, the vaccine to beat Covid-19 does not exist. Antibiotic and antiviral drugs are being used to relieve symptoms.
Antibiotics are not helpful in viral pneumonia, however, bacterial pneumonia often occurs after viral infection. In this case, doctors give antibiotics to the affected people.
Antiviral drugs can reduce the duration and severity of the disease if treatment is started within 48 hours after symptoms begin, after 48 hours after the patient has developed pneumonia, it is not clear that the drugs antivirals are effective. However, the administration of antiviral drugs is more delicate because the drug affects healthy cells as well.
Anti-inflammatory drugs try to relieve inflammation of the lung tissue and serious difficulty breathing. Technically, people with pneumonia could be treated with anti-inflammatories to alleviate the state of inflammation and that could improve the amount of oxygen inhaled in the patient’s lungs, alleviating their disease. Anti-inflammatories like paracetamol (acetaminophen) or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs).
The escalation in the recent years of new strains of Coronavirus suggests that they mutate into increasingly aggressive variants and I want to think that these are a bizarre design of nature and not the result of “evil” human creation. The lack of solutions (vaccines) that provide protection against Covid-19 should make us think that the way to avoid contracting the disease is to take care of our immune system as much as possible.
Prevention today more than ever is essential. There are drugs to increase our defenses but personally I prefer medicinal plants because many of them are perfect to protect and strengthen our immune system.
In the next blog I will write about some medicinal plants with; antimalarial, antiviral, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory features for my readers and his or her friends and families that want to take them into consideration.