Before knowing the significant role of immune system in our body,I would like to talk about coronavirus-covid 19.I know people are so confused and have questions like ‘is there a difference between covide 19 and coronavirus?and why are we calling it ‘novel’ coronavirus?
What is the difference between coronavirus and covid-19 ?
Coronavirus is an entire group of viruses comprising different characteristics from the same family, of viruses – Coronavirus. It infects animals and transmission is from animal/bird to animal/bird.
COVID 19 is one member of the Coronavirus family. The name means Corona VIrus Disease and 19 means the year it erupted – 2019. This name was given to it to differentiate it from the other Coronaviruses and prevent confusion. Its official name is SARS -nCoV – 2 which means Severe Acute Resiratory Syndrome – Novel Coronavirus- 2nd strain. It is also known as nCoV.Now we are cleared about it.
The China Virus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV2), is a specific virus of the coronavirus family.There are thousands of coronaviruses. We know of 7 that can infect humans.
SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV2, and MERS-CoV are the three killers. The other 4 cause a common cold.
Why are we calling it novel coronavirus?
Novel virus refers to a virus not seen before. It can be a virus that is isolated from its reservoir or isolated as the result of spread to an animal or human host where the virus had not been identified before.
The name “novel coronavirus” was given, by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV),for study purposes.
A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is not that same as the and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a 2019-nCoV diagnosis. These are different viruses and patients with 2019-nCoV will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
Symptoms of covid-19
There are many signs and symptoms of CoVid-19, many of which are common to other illnesses or infections, and some that are more specific to CoVid-19. Some people may be asymptomatic, and won’t develop symptoms, but they can still infect others.
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of CoVid-19:
- Dry throat / sore throat (initial infection)
- Feeling fatigued (very tired)
- Rigor (chills: often goes along with the fever)
- Myalgia (Muscle pain)
- Cough (not all people with COVID-19 will develop a cough)
- Recent loss of ability to taste or smell
- Dyspnea/Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Sweating and Headache
- Fever (above 37 degree celsius)
What does covid-19 do to your body
After doing a bit of research on this virus l,I would say, not necessarily, but the conditions/infections resulting from the virus could be deadly. The virus results in a lower-respiratory infection, or pneumonia. Pneumonia is an illness in which the lungs become inflamed and fill with puss and it gets progressively more difficult to breathe. It isn’t something to mess around with.
Coronaviruses like 2019-nCoV are particularly dangerous for people who have weaker immune systems, like young children and older adults. There are no vaccines to protect people from contracting a coronavirus. Pets are also at risk of catching coronaviruses, which can lead to disease and even death.
How does your immune system respond to a Coronavirus-covid 19 attack?
Before talking about the response of immune system towards coronavirus,we need to understand what is immune system consist of?
One of the most important types of cells in the lymphatic and immune systems are the white blood cells. They include:
Natural killer cells (NK) go after tumor cells and viruses and insert a protein into the cells that destroys them.
T cells, which destroy foreign or damaged cells. The helper T cells plan the attack and the killer T cells carry it out.
B cells, which create antibodies. Antibodies are specific to one antigen (a toxin or foreign substance). They attach to that antigen like a key in a lock. The B cells that create the antibodies “remember.” If an antigen enters your body and your B cells recognize it, either from having had the disease before or from being vaccinated against it, your B cells increase production of the appropriate antibody. When the antibody binds to the antigen, it is a signal for other cells and molecules of the immune system to come and destroy the antigen.
Bone marrow is the spongy inside of most of your bones. It produces blood cells, called red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. Immature blood cells, called stem cells, can grow into different types of cells, including blood cells. When mature, most blood cells leave the bone marrow and move into your blood or lymph system.
The immune system consists of more than just the lymphatic system. Your skin and mucus membranes act as the first line of defense. Skin presents a physical barrier. The mucus membranes that line your natural openings, such as your mouth, nose and anus, make and release substances that create a hostile environment for the invaders and attack the invaders directly.
Whether you get Coronavirus infection or not, depends on the health of your immune system and the strength and quantity of the Coronavirus. The stronger the immune system the better it protect from disease.
How it respond to covid-19 attack
Generally, the first response by the immune system is that we get sick. The generalized body aches headaches, and lethargy is your immune system telling you to stay still and not to spend energy trying to act like nothing’s wrong. The coughs and sneezes are attempts to blow the pathogen out, the flowing mucus, vomiting and diarrhea are attempts to wash it out, and the fever is an attempt to burn it out. Eventually, the immune system produces proteins called antibodies that neutralize the pathogen, and you get better.
Over simplified answer
1. activation of internal cellular defenses prevents virus replication and degrades viral genetic material.
2. antibodies inactivates circulating viral particles.
3. CD8+ T-cells kill infected cells.
4. NK cells kill virus infected cells that have down regulated TCRs in an attempt to hide from immune surveillance.
The immune system is one of the most complex systems in our bodies.So explaining this much is not enoughI may talk about this sum up of virology and immunology in my upcoming articles in detail.
Doctor’s advice on covid-19
This message is from a doctor in Hong Kong who consulted with his friend (who currently works on SARS prevention research) on some effective ways to prevent the Coronavirus.
1. It is pretty large in size (cell is about 400-500nm diameter), so any normal mask (not just the N95 feature) should be able to filter it out. However, when someone who’s infected sneezes in front of you, it will take a great 3 meters (about 10 feet) before it drops to the ground and is no longer airborne.
2. When the virus drops on metal surface, it will live for at least 12 hours. So remember if you come in contact with any metal surface, wash your hands with soap thoroughly.
3. The virus can remain active on fabric for 6-12 hours. Normal laundry detergent should kill the virus. For winter clothing that does not require daily washing, you can put it out under the sun to kill the virus.
SYMPTOMS of the pneumonia caused by covid-19:
1. It will first infect the throat, so the throat will have the dry sore throat feeling which will last for 3 to 4 days
2. Then the virus will blend into the nasal fluid and drips into the trachea and enter the lungs, causing pneumonia. This process will take 5 to 6 days.
3. With pneumonia, comes high fever and difficulty in breathing. The nasal congestion is not like the normal kind. You will feel like you are drowning in water. It’s important to go seek immediate medical attention if you feel like this.
1. The most common way of getting infected is by touching things in public, so you must wash your hands frequently. The virus can only live on your hands for 5-10 mins, but a lot can happen in those 5-10 mins (you can rub your eyes or pick your nose unwittingly).
2. Aside from washing your hands frequently, you can gargle with Betadine Sore Throat Gargle to eliminate or minimize the germs while they are still in your throat (before dripping down to your lungs).
So this was the advice from the doctor who is currently working on SARS prevention research.
Conclusion:So now we know the symptoms and causes of coronavirus and how our immune system response to coronavirus attack.I would suggest to take extra care and drink plenty of water,Stay safe and live healthy lifestyle.