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Does Coronavirus cause permanent organ damage?

By Jael Mboga | June 16th 2020

A tweet by user Ohta Ryota on June 15 that attracted over 2,200 reactions (and counting) sparked a probably ongoing debate on whether coronavirus causes permanent organ damage.
A research by Standard Digital found out that indeed, there is such a possibility.
United Kingdom's National Health Service's Dr Amir Khan, who is also a senior university lecturer, says although the majority of those infected with the coronavirus make a good recovery, this only happens to those who had mild symptoms.
In an article posted in a foreign news site, Dr Khan says, "There is evidence to show that those on the moderate to severe end of the spectrum (who experience breathing difficulties and pneumonia) may be left with permanent lung damage."
Coronavirus enters the body through the respiratory tract and attacks the lungs through different forms, including viral replication. This triggers a reaction that increases inflammation in the lungs and causes them to fill with fluid. Fluid in the lungs attracts bacteria which in turn causes pneumonia. It is at this point that the patient will need a ventilator as they will be having trouble breathing.
But such severe cases only affect 14 per cent of those infected.
"It is this excess inflammation brought on by an overreacting immune system that is the biggest danger to the lungs. It can cause irreversible damage to the air sacs."
According to the World Health Organisation, the effect of coronavirus on lungs, which leads to permanent damage and inability to breathe normally is similar to one from SARS, a type of coronavirus that behaves like the Covid-19.
"For a small number of people who are severely affected by the disease, breathing normally may never be the same again and getting short of breath on minimal exertion or requiring medication to help you breathe may become the norm."
Other than the lungs, worsened infection may also affect the kidneys which depend on a balanced blood pressure.
The kidneys rely on a balanced blood pressure to maintain the ideal conditions they need to filter a person's blood.
"People who are lucky enough to survive a severe case of Covid-19 will need to have their kidney function monitored carefully through blood and urine tests to check for permanent damage."
Further, a New York Times article on June 11 reported that a young woman whose lungs were destroyed by the coronavirus received a double lung transplant, the first known lung transplant in the US for Covid-19.
In an interview with NYT, chief of thoracic surgery Dr Ankit Bharat said inflammation in the lungs caused by the disease had “completely plastered to tissue around them, the heart, the chest wall and diaphragm."
During national coronavirus updates in Kenya, the officials have insisted on selling the narrative that the majority of those who died had underlying health complications.
However, Dr Bharat said the woman in her 20s had no serious underlying medical conditions.
"Even though the transplanted lungs are healthy, her long illness has left her chest muscles too weak for breathing, and it will take time for her strength to return."
Medical professionals have cautioned that coronavirus patients who were once placed on ventillators and recovered still need to be monitored for lung damage, which if present may strain the heart and liver.

Covid 19 Time Series


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