The degree to which the coronavirus contagion has transformed everyday life would have been unthinkable just several months ago. Most people seem to have accepted the hardships as the new normal. In doing so, they most likely take scientists at their word, since many are, understandably, scientifically challenged themselves. Fortunately for the average layman, the popular science site SciTechDaily reported on a new study of the virus. They used deliberately accessible language.
The epidemiologists explain that SARS-Cov-2 causes COVID-19. The latter is properly and crucially understood as a killer, via contradictory immune system overreactions. That is, the virus ironically uses our own defense mechanisms against us. It gives us a fatal taste, as it were, of our own medicine.
Human bodies contain something called a "cytokine," an inflammation-stimulating molecule. White blood cells, our bodies' sort of infantry in battle against disease, produce cytokines. Infectious COVID-19 tricks white blood cells into releasing an excess of cytokines, resulting in a "cytokine storm."
The molecules "attract an excess of immune cells such as lymphocytes and neutrophils." This flurry of activity causes a kind of traffic jam in our lungs, which means blockage and injury. Hence, the coronavirus patient's shortness of breath symptoms and the endemic need of hospitals for ventilators that help the afflicted breathe.
The cytokine storm also manifests itself in externally recognizable symptoms, such as light fever, low blood pressure, and coughing. Most COVID-19 fatalities occur as a result of respiratory failure.
Scientists currently lack a "specific antiviral cure." Therefore, treatment must be an uphill task of giving attention to the disease's effects as opposed to its proximate cause. For example, some medical researchers suspect that blood transfusions might help relegate organ functions in sick patients.
Because COVID-19 cripples the immune system, additional diseases can follow from its presence. The best way to counteract the risk is a dietary tactic. Ingesting probiotics, amino acids, and nutrients supports the beleaguered immune system.
By increasing our own understanding of the disease, we hopefully appreciate the threat that it poses more urgently. Until doctors develop that specific antiviral remedy alluded to in the article (and, likely, even after that), the virus threat will remain.