Damage to the skin, brain and eyes: how COVID-19 enters human organs

COVID-19 and the lungs

Science writes that, entering the human body through the nasopharynx, the virus copies itself,

spreading into new cells. If the immune system cannot stop it, the virus enters the trachea and lungs, which is especially dangerous.

Due to the fight against it by the immune system, the supply of oxygen to the body is disrupted. Also, with infection, the development of pneumonia and acute respiratory failure syndrome is possible.

As the autopsy of deceased patients shows, theirthe pulmonary alveoli are filled with fluid, leukocytes, and the remains of dead cells. According to one of the versions, an excessively strong reaction of the immune system leads to this - this is a cytokine storm, during which especially powerful inflammatory processes take place, and immune cells begin to attack even healthy tissues. However, not all experts consider this version to be sufficiently substantiated.

COVID-19 and the heart

Doctors in Wuhan, China noticed that dozens ofpercent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have heart damage. In Italy, a woman was admitted to hospital with suspected heart attack, as indicated by a cardiogram, a blood test, and edema with scars on the heart. But her arteries were fine, but the coronavirus test was positive.

In 2020, it was reported that myocarditis,inflammation of the muscle layer of the heart (myocardium), occur in almost a third of patients with COVID-19. However, today it is becoming clear that this condition is less common - only in a few percent of patients. Some people have abnormal heart rhythms.

There is also a lesion of the pericardium - the heart bag. All these conditions can be caused both by the direct effect of the virus on cells, and by an overly strong immune response from the body.

COVID-19 disrupts blood clotting

Patients with COVID-19 are often diagnosed asobvious thrombotic complications with the identification of large blood clots (not only in the veins and pulmonary arteries, but also in the heart, vessels of the brain, kidneys, liver), as well as signs of thrombosis at the microcirculatory level, which is rather difficult to prove in vivo.

Some researchers suggest that with COVID-19, thrombosis of the microvasculature can underlie damage to many organs, up to multiple organ failure.

So, for example, thrombosis of the vessels of the kidneys canlead to increasing renal failure, microvasculature of the lungs - to aggravate respiratory failure. Interestingly, when the myocardium is damaged by signs of inflammation and interstitial fibrosis, viral particles are not directly detected in the myocardium.

Researchers suggest that myocardial damage can develop against the background of hypoxia, microvasculature thrombosis and a systemic inflammatory response.

COVID-19 and the brain

When it comes to the brain and nerves,coronavirus affects the brain in several ways. Doctors often see patients with inflammation of the brain, blood clots leading to a stroke, and signs of postinfectious Guillain-Barré syndrome.

In the latter case, the immune system fails and it attacks the nerves of the human body. In addition, patients often complain of confusion, delusions, and hallucinations.

Some COVID-19 patients have seizures,encephalitis, someone loses consciousness, taste and smell. This suggests that the virus can also attack the brain. Doctors interviewed by Science admit that an infection spread to the brain can disrupt the reflex in response to oxygen deprivation: therefore, patients do not suffocate.

In a large study by scientists from China, in whichabout 1700 subjects participated, symptoms of depression were noted in about 30-40% of those who had had coronavirus infection. But in the overwhelming majority, the severity of these symptoms was minimal. It cannot be ruled out that the general stress due to the spread of the coronavirus, a possible lockdown and the general level of anxiety affect the psyche of almost all people, and not just those who have suffered from COVID-19.

COVID-19 and the work of the gastrointestinal tract

Sometimes the infected develop diarrhea, vomiting. RNA of the virus is found in feces, and Chinese scientists have found residues of SARS-CoV-2 in samples from different parts of the gastrointestinal tract

Viral RNAs were detected in scrapings and rectalsmears from some COVID-19 patients. At the same time, in 23% of patients, stool tests remained positive for a long time even after the disappearance of viral particles from the respiratory tract. The viral dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in the gastrointestinal tract is not fully understood, it is quite possible that it does not at all coincide with the dynamics in the respiratory tract.

For example, there are cases when due tothe formation of blood clots in the vessels feeding the intestines, people experienced acute abdominal pains that were not relieved by analgesics. Such intestinal ischemia with necrosis is a life-threatening condition, but it still cannot be called a typical complication of coronavirus infection.

COVID-19 and eyes

British scientists have established a link betweeneye inflammation and coronavirus infection. They believe that eye pain should be recognized as one of the significant symptoms of early COVID-19. This is the first dedicated study on ocular manifestations in COVID-19.

The majority of respondents - 81% - mentioned thatin the early stages of COVID-19, they had eye problems. Of these, 18 percent indicated photophobia or increased photosensitivity, 17% indicated itching, and 16% indicated pain in the eyes. Symptoms persisted for up to two weeks.

The authors note that, apparently, manythose infected do not pay attention to eye symptoms, considering them uncharacteristic for COVID-19, or referred to as ordinary conjunctivitis. Do not focus on them, in the presence of other, more serious symptoms, and doctors when patients are admitted to the hospital.

According to the researchers, conjunctivitis should be clearly distinguished from the symptoms of coronavirus infection, and eye pains should be recognized as significant symptoms of the early manifestation of COVID-19.

Five types of cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19

Scientists from the Spanish Academy of Dermatology have presented a classification of five types of skin manifestations in patients with COVID-19, a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Researchers collected information on 375 patients,in whom the coronavirus was confirmed as a result of tests or diagnosed symptomatically, and skin rashes appeared during the illness for no other reason.

  • To the first group (19% of cases) researchersincluded patients who developed redness on the skin, as a result of frostbite, blisters and abscesses. Rashes were recorded at later stages of the disease, they persisted for an average of 12.7 days.
  • In 9% of patients, the researchers recorded a vesicular (blistering) rash similar to a scattering of small blisters that appeared on the trunk and caused itching in 68% of cases.
  • The third group of patients (19%) had urticarial eruptions similar to urticaria. Spots appeared in critically ill patients on the trunk and in some cases on the palms and in 92% of cases caused itching.
  • Most often (47% of cases), patients had maculopapular rash - small red papules. Some researchers have described the rash as similar to lichen rosacea.
  • The rarest cutaneous manifestation was observed in6% of patients. In elderly patients with a severe course of COVID-19, researchers have recorded livedo (a phenomenon that appears with circulatory disorders in the vessels and a phenomenon similar to a mesh pattern on the skin), as well as necrosis (premature death of skin tissue).

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