• Jun Park

Covid-19 : How it attacks us

The George Washington University hospital has created through a virtual reality technology a 360º visualization of how the SARS-Cov-2 attacked a 59 year old man with history of hypertension. This clinical study is a real study which allows us to review the damage the coronavirus creates and the response of the immune system against this attack.

The patient, the first ever in the hospital to be treated using 3D technology, was a person which "besides hypertension does not have any other health issues", according to doctor Keith Mortmann, chief of Thoracic Surgery at George Washington. The patient suffered from dramatic worsening condition suffering "grave and progressive damage" in his lung tissue. "The damage we are seeing is not isolated to any part of the lung, it is extensive damage in both longs."

The patient was asymptomatic for the first few days, but started to feel them eventually, and the virus turned into a aggressive form of pneumonia. The inflammation of the alveoli and the alveolar duct start hindering the function of the alveoli, reducing its ability to supply oxygen and to eliminate carbon dioxide. This way, eventually the oxygen levels in the blood diminish and collapse.

If the inflammation remains untreated, the lungs can fill up with liquid and dead cells. In the worst case, the lungs fill up with so much liquid that without respiratory assistance the patient dies. According to experts, the likelihood of developing this symptoms is conditional to your immune system and preexisting conditions such as hypertension, cardiac problems or diabetes.

Regardless, lung conditions are not the only complication that the coronavirus can cause. A study published in March by The Lancet suggests that the virus is "is not only able to cause pneumonia, but it can also cause damage to other organs like the heart, liver and kidney, as well as other body functions like the blood or immune system."

As we research more this new enemy, currently have one and half million people around the world infected, we are finding more clues to how to combat this virus. Additionally, the doctor also reminded everyone that "Every day we have more and more young people hospitalized."