According to two separate reports, Covid-19 can infect other organs. The reports suggest the virus goes far beyond the lungs and can attack various organs. The findings can help explain the wide range of symptoms caused by COVID19 infection.
The coronavirus can infect organs throughout the body, including lungs, throat, heart, liver, brain, kidneys and the intestines, as researchers have reported on Wednesday.
The findings might help explain some of the puzzling symptoms seen in coronavirus patients. They include blood clots that cause strokes in younger people and that clog dialysis machines, headaches and kidney failure.
Covid-19 is classified as a respiratory virus and is transmitted through respiratory droplets, but it can also sometimes cause diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Researchers have found evidence of the virus in the stool of patients, and warn that it can be transmitted via what’s known as the faecal-oral route.
One study, led by Jie Zhou and colleagues at the University of Hong Kong wanted to see how well the virus can flourish in the intestines. They grew intestinal organoids in a lab dish in different versions of the organs, from both bats and humans. They showed the virus not only lived in these organs but replicated.
“The human intestinal tract might be a transmission route of SARS-CoV-2,” the team wrote in their report, published in Nature Medicine reporting that Covid-19 can infect organs.
Covid-19 can infect organs
In a separate study, a team at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany performed autopsies on 27 patients who died from Covid-19. They found the virus in a variety of organs.
“SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in multiple organs, including the lungs, pharynx, heart, liver, brain, and kidneys,” they wrote in a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The virus seemed to do especially well in the kidneys, they wrote — something that might explain the high rate of kidney injury seen among Covid-19 patients.
The ability of the virus to attack various organs might aggravate pre-existing conditions, they added. People with heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease are especially vulnerable to the new Coronavirus.
The global dashboard of the spread of the coronavirus disease is available at the World Health Organisation website (WHO)
Can I be infected if I don’t have a fever?
Yes, you can still have coronavirus if you don’t have a fever. This occurs in about 12% of cases. However, the case fatality rate only includes people who are tested and confirmed as having the virus.
How long does it take to get sick?
The incubation is the period from when you’re infected to when you become sick. For COVID-19, the range is 1-14 days, with an average incubation period of 5-6 days.
How sick do people usually get?
Most people who get sick (80%) have a mild illness which rarely involves needing to go to the hospital. They recover after about two weeks.
But just over 20% of people sick with COVID-19 will need to be hospitalised for severe difficulties with breathing. Reports have suggested that Covid-19 can infect organs, thus displaying different symptoms.
Of the 20% who need to be hospitalised, 6% become critically ill with either respiratory failure (where you can’t get enough oxygen from your lungs into your blood), septic shock, and/or multiple organ failure. These people are likely to require admission to an intensive care unit.
It appears to take about one week to become severely ill after getting symptoms.
How often do people die of it?
People aged over 60 years with underlying health problems are at the highest risk of severe disease and death. The case fatality rate refers to the number of deaths among those who have tested positive for coronavirus. Globally, the case fatality rate today stands at 4%.
But this rate varies from country to country and even within countries. These variations may partially be explained by whether hospitals have been overwhelmed or not.