COVID-19 and Its Effect on the Human Body
As the COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, many more are becoming infected and the number of deaths from the virus is outrageous to the point that it is causing extreme panic amongst the general public. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the outbreak poses a greater global threat than terrorism and has been classified as a pandemic. The outbreak has become a full-blown global threat as countries from around the world have citizens who are infected with the virus. The terrifying numbers of infections and casualties have taken an emotional toll on citizens throughout the globe.
Those infected with the COVID-19 require special treatment and isolation is mandatory to prevent contamination and curb the virus from spreading. The effect of the virus is pretty terrifying, given the increasing number of casualties reported from the infections. The fatalities caused by the virus outweigh the number of recoveries, which sparks panic as to how severe the effect of the virus is on the human body.
A person may contract the COVID-19 should they accidentally come into contact with respiratory secretions resulting from a cough or sneeze of an infected person. Being around an individual that is tested positive with COVID-19 increases the chance of infection as the virus can transfer easily if one does not practice good hygiene habits. The COVID-19 is not an airborne virus but the virus gets to its host through means of physical contact; one may touch a surface that has the secretions of an infected person and accidentally touch their bodies such as nose or mouth. Once the virus enters the body through this channel, it will begin to wreak havoc from within.
So, what happens when a healthy person is infected with the COVID-19 virus?
Once the virus comes in contact with healthy body cells, it binds to the receptors of those cells. Just as the virus attaches itself to the healthy body cells, it now has full access to all the cell's machinery. Normally, this machinery is reserved for our body’s deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which uses the ribosomes to make proteins that have all sorts of functions and travel all over our body. However, if the COVID-19 attacks the body, it ends up hijacking the system and uses its ribonucleic acid (RNA) to get to the ribosomes and start making proteins that it wants. This means our body cell will start multiplying the virus by manufacturing its genetic material.
It happens through the production of the capsid envelope and ultimately the cell becomes a virus-making machine. So the coronavirus has its RNA instructions deciphered and proceeds to duplicate the protein after and ultimately can make millions a virus, these viruses eventually fill the cell and make their way back to the cell membrane where they break out often destroying the cell in the process, once so onto the next cell to repeat the cycle all over again. As the virus attacks the body cells and causes them to die, the body will sense this and start to trigger an immune response. This will subsequently create symptoms such as headaches, running nose, coughing, sore throat, and fever.
These symptoms may seem harmless and feel like the common cold. That makes it tricky and difficult to differentiate, and it may sometimes be too late once the person realizes that they are infected as their condition will deteriorate rapidly after the onset of the obvious symptoms. Medical professionals would need to perform laboratory tests on respiratory specimens as well as blood tests to determine whether the symptoms are caused by the COVID-19 strain. In a healthy individual, the immune system will eventually realize that there is a foreign agent inside the body and mounts an attack. The immune system is incredibly complex with a plethora of different mechanisms to counter the invaders. As the virus continues to proliferate and cells continue to die in a desperate attempt to save your body, the immune system can go into overdrive. This may cause an increase in body temperature to help the immune system function better and create a hostile environment for the virus.
As a result, the body may produce more snot and phlegm which makes it harder for the virus to attach to the body cells. In severe cases, white blood cells are responsible for activating a variety of chemicals that can cause the fluid into your lungs and this combination of cellular destruction from the virus and fluid-filled lines interrupts the transportation of oxygen into the bloodstream which can lead to suffocation and organ failure. For those that are infected, the body may feel weak as the immune system is gearing up to fight off the invasion. This is because the body starts to prioritize fighting off the virus instead of doing its regular day-to-day activities.
When the coronavirus is detected, the body trigger signals to start producing antibodies. These antibodies are created by our DNA, whereby it is essentially sections of code in each cell's DNA that contain the instructions to build different defense systems. Enzymes in the nucleus find the right section of DNA and make a copy called the messenger RNA which is sent to the ribosome in your cells. It will then read these instructions and start making the relevant proteins with up to 10,000,000 ribosomes in each cell as they become an anti-body making factory that is sent outside of the cell to fight the virus. The trickiest part for the body is when the immune response does not detect the virus right away, thus giving the virus an upper hand.
This is why it can take so long for your body to fight off a virus but for the coronavirus strain, those with a healthy immune system should be able to fight off and rid the body of the virus within weeks. The only issue is that those with a compromised immune system, which includes the elderly or people who are very young, may not be able to effectively build up the defense to fight the virus fast enough before it fully attacks the body’s immune system. But the virus is not always the cause of death, however, with the weakening of the body and the distracted immune system, other organisms like bacteria can take advantage of the body causing further complications. As the situation prolongs and the body being unable to cope, it will cause the organs to slowly shut down, and eventually, the whole body will cease to function normally.