December 8, 2023

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Nature: Why is COVID-19 pneumonia more harmful ?

Nature: Why is COVID-19 pneumonia more harmful ?

Nature: Why is COVID-19 pneumonia more harmful ? Why is new coronavirus pneumonia more difficult to treat than other pneumonias, and why does it have long-term sequelae? A study published in Nature on January 11 pointed out that the new coronavirus is more cunning than other pathogens. It will establish its own “base” and continuously cause damage to various organs.

Nature: Why is COVID-19 pneumonia more harmful ?

According to Dr. Scott Budinger, Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern University School of Medicine, after the human body is infected with pneumonia pathogens, they can spread to most of the lungs within a few hours.

Through ICU treatment, these pathogens can be repelled by antibiotics or autoimmunity within a few days. However, the new coronavirus will not spread infection quickly, but will establish “base areas” in multiple areas of the lungs. Then it hijacks the immune macrophages in the lungs and uses them to spread continuously over a period of days and weeks, just like wildfires spreading in the forest.

When the infected macrophages move through the body, they can damage the organs and tissues on the way, causing fever, low blood pressure, and damage to the kidneys, brain, heart, and other organs. Compared with other pneumonias, the serious complications of new coronavirus pneumonia are more related to the long course of the disease, rather than more serious diseases.

Dr. Ben Singer, associate professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Feinberg School of Medicine, said that new coronavirus pneumonia, like influenza, is unlikely to disappear even if most people are vaccinated. This virus may mutate and escape the immune mechanism of the vaccine. Therefore, we also need to develop appropriate treatment methods to alleviate the severity of pneumonia patients and reduce the severe rate and death rate.

This study also explains a key issue. During the treatment of new coronavirus pneumonia, the mortality rate of patients treated with ventilator is lower than that of conventional pneumonia. Singer said that conventional pneumonia causes more severe lung damage, compared with new coronavirus pneumonia with a longer course but less inflammation. Therefore, if the medical system is functioning normally and patients with new coronavirus pneumonia are able to receive ventilator treatment, critically ill patients have more possibilities to restart the lung repair mechanism, and the mortality rate will be controlled at a lower level. Insufficient resources for hospital beds and ventilators will double the mortality rate.

In the next study, Northwestern University School of Medicine will initiate a treatment for this disease mechanism. They hope to use drugs to calm the inflammatory response of these immune cells and make the organ disease caused by new coronavirus pneumonia milder, just like a bad cold. In this process, the lungs can initiate self-repair and reconstruction functions, and eventually recover from severe illness.


(sourceinternet, reference only)

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