Doctors Tally Up the Ways Coronavirus Attacks the Body
If you can remember all the way back to the beginning of the krona virus outbreak you might recall hearing that patients who catch it show flu like symptoms of Fever. Cough and fatigue well our knowledge of virus and how it affects. The body has come a long way since then joining me now to talk about what medical professionals are now learning about. Kobe is Wall Street Journal. Senior writer Betsy McKay Betsy. We heard a lot early on about the corona virus being a respiratory infection. But that's not the case for everyone. Doctors report that the virus impacts more than just the respiratory system and you spoke to several medical providers who treated corona virus patients. What did they tell you about the other systems of the body that this can impact? What they said is that this virus really is looking like more than a respiratory infection. It's affecting all parts of the body and some really unexpected ones. I said you know. There are more complications that they're seeing with covert nineteen and they see with other other viral infections basically. They've learned that. The damaged goes far beyond the lungs. It can affect the brain kidneys heart the vascular system the digestive system. So you know. Patients sometimes are having sudden strokes. They develop pulmonary embolisms or blood. Clots in the lung. Some have heart. Attacks symptoms kidney failure. So it's a pretty wide range of complications. Can any of those factors help explain why younger people who seemingly without any underlying health issues have in some cases experienced severe cases of this virus helps partly explain? It doesn't fully explain it but it does show that you know you can develop these complications. And it's not necessarily tied to having an underlying condition or having a weaker immune system which is what puts older people at risk or being younger and having an underlying condition. They're clearly some kind of independent things going on in the body that don't affect everybody. I mean I think it's still a mystery as to why most people like eighty percent of people don't really develop complications like this but twenty percent to can you talk a bit more about the inflammatory response that the virus produces in the body and how that's presented challenges to treating it in some cases. Yeah I'm so. Some people develop a really powerful inflammatory response. You know anybody who gets a virus is going to have some inflammation so when a when a virus enters your body the immune system cells kind of Russian to kill infected cells. They also release. These molecules called cytokines and the whole idea is to try to sort of isolated and protect the body from the infected tissue. But you know you're you're inflammatory. Response can kind of Overdo it developed. What's called the site of kind storm? So once you get this inflammation in your body start to damage you know instead of protecting you. It starts damaging the body itself. So it can you know starve. The body of Oxygen. Because if your lungs are inflamed you can't take oxygen into the lungs and that deprives other organs in your body so so there's some pretty severe consequences of extreme inflammation and that seems to be driving a lot of these problems and what about the preponderance of clotting this also seems to be one of those mysteries associated with the corona virus. Yeah that has been a really interesting discovery. And it's you know. One of the most worrisome complications because it seems to be behind a lot of these complications so anytime that you have kind of a level of hyperinflation your body is more more prone to clotting. That's that's one of the consequences of it and what doctors are seeing is blood clots forming. I mean they form the lungs and that prevents oxygen from getting in. You know the blood then kind of just goes through the lungs without taking oxygen that can deprive the heart of oxygen. You can also get blood clots in the heart you know. They've even found blood clots in the toes causing this famous now famous and very strange complication called Cova Toe. Which essentially is blood? Clots forming down in the small very small blood vessels in the in the foot and the tow and causing this amazing swelling. So it even affects the kidneys so this clothing is really really strange. It seems to be a feature of the more severe in nineteen so we've talked a lot about the various mysteries that krona viruses still posing and we know doctors and scientists are working to answer a lot of questions. What are some of the biggest ones they still have at this point? Well I would say there are a lot of a lot of big ones. They don't really understand who developed severe disease and why although there are certain groups at risk and older people are risk because their immune systems are weaker people with underlying conditions like heart disease diabetes are also at greater risk because their bodies are just again in week position but but nobody really understands yet. Why sometimes rarely but it does happen. You know perfectly healthy. Young people can very severely ill among us will develop a very strong powerful inflammatory response. That will cause all of these problems. They still don't understand. How many of these complications are caused by inflammation? I say direct attack of the virus itself so there are a lot of questions that scientists are still are trying to figure out and you know. This virus was just identified at the beginning of this year. So that's it's less than five months. Old have been studied for less than five months so the scientists and doctors. We talked to said you know. There's just a lot of work to be done.