Coronavirus: How to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19

Coronavirus: How to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19

Experts say the disease's first port of call is the lungs and that it can also target the kidneys.

Experts say the disease's first port of call is the lungs and that it can also target the kidneys. Breathing problems are the most common signs that you may get infected with coronavirus, and that is because the lungs are its first port of call.

Unlike flu, coronaviruses are respiratory diseases and can spread by spraying tiny liquid droplets from their nose or mouth that may contain the virus when an infected patient coughs or sneezes.

Why coronavirus targets lung cells

Although only around two months old, scientists are gradually learning more about COVID-19, which, according to Professor Mark Fielder-a medical microbiologist at Kingston University, appears to be targeting two specific sets of lung cells.

Coronavirus: How to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19

Speaking to Sky News, he explains one is called a goblet cell and the other is called a ciliated cell

He said: "A goblet cell produces mucus that makes a wet slimy layer on your respiratory tract, and that's important to help keep your lungs moist, which is necessary to keep you safe." Ciliated cells are cells that have tiny hairs on them that wave upwards, so any nasty material that gets stuck in the mucus, such as bacteria and viruses, or particles of dust, gets swept up towards your throat.

"If you cough, you cough up the mucus and drink it, and you dump that we call it a stomach in the acid bath that's the way things normally work." But he says COVID-19 seems to preferentially target those two different sets of cells-" something that has been seen similarly with SARS, "he said.

SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, also emerged in China, killing 774 people following the outbreak in 2002-2003, far less than the almost 3,000 COVID-19 killed.

Professor Fielder added: "The problem we have here is that the virus infects these cells and starts killing them.' And as it destroys them as part of their replication cycle, tissue falls into the lungs and the lungs begin to get blockages-and that blockage may mean that the patient develops pneumonia.'

The patient develops pneumonia. "Immune system' goes haywire' and can destroy healthy tissue He says there is an additional problem in that the immune system attempts to respond because it knows that the body is under attack." It can, in effect, become what we term hyperimmune and create a major attack that can then begin to damage the healthy tissue below.

Prof Fielder also believes that attempts by the body to fight the virus can cause inflammation in the lungs, which can make breathing much harder.

He said: "Once the virus has entered the pneumonic state in the lungs, it can begin to cause problems in the air sacs in your lungs ' blood vessels-commonly wrapped around the lungs ' almost broccoli-shaped organs, called alveoli.

The' broccoli-shaped' organs in the lungs are called alveoli

"These are really necessary in normal breathing to help the body exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide under normal breathing, and they are very fragile and can get damaged and reduce the blood oxygenation capacity."

And he adds that it is not only the lungs that are attacked by the virus.

Coronavirus also targets other major organs COVID-19 can also invade the kidneys-the two bean-shaped organs that flush out our blood toxins.

He says it doesn't work properly, it can lead to organ failure and the patient "will struggle to get on with life."

On Sunday, the WHO advised people over 60 or underlying illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, to avoid crowded areas in an effort to reduce their risk of COVID-19 catching.

The ill and the elderly are believed to be most at risk from the disease.

According to Johns Hopkins University, which monitors the outbreak, recent figures indicate that there are more than 89,000 confirmed and suspected cases of the virus worldwide.

In England on Sunday twelve new cases were confirmed, along with the first person in Scotland to be recorded to have it, bringing the total number of COVID-19 in the UK to 36.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted it is "inevitable" the deadly virus would continue to spread.

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