IN THE BEGINNING
When COVID-19 first emerged, medical doctors perceived it to be a respiratory sickness, with sufferers reporting pronounced coughing, shortness of breath and signs akin to pneumonia. However as our world understanding of the illness developed, so did our appreciation of this advanced illness.
Studies started to emerge that the virus was able to not simply affecting the lungs but in addition different organs, equivalent to the guts, kidneys, mind and blood vessels, inflicting a broader assault.
Research figuring out the viral proteins in varied organs additionally started to emerge, demonstrating the virus’s fondness for sure tissues that weren’t a part of the lungs.
Initially, the primary concept put ahead was that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) was immediately infecting cells throughout a number of organs. However, as information amassed, a extra nuanced understanding emerged.
It was noticed that in some sufferers, the immune system, in its defence towards the virus, overshot its response, resulting in what’s termed a “cytokine storm”. This hyperactive immune response wasn’t at all times discriminative, inflicting unintended harm to organs in a roundabout way beneath viral assault.
Additional stories highlighting the predisposition of the virus to induce extra clotting, mitochondrial disruption (mitochondria being the powerhouses of our cells) and reactivation of different viruses emerged. Extra importantly, there was a rising variety of sufferers persevering with to report persistent disabling signs arising from a number of organs, even after surviving the preliminary an infection, also called lengthy COVID, a situation now thought to have an effect on one in 10 folks.
So the narrative shifted. COVID-19 wasn’t merely a brief respiratory affliction, however a multisystemic illness with the potential for long-term problems, difficult our assumptions about the way to deal with the illness.