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Coronavirus Can Spend Months In The Brain, Heart, and Intestines: Study

A positive (L) and non-antibody test of covid-19 is being taken at a drugstore in Strasbourg, eastern France, on July 15, 2020.

A positive (L) and non-antibody test of covid-19 is being taken at a drugstore in Strasbourg, eastern France, on July 15, 2020.
Picture: Frederick Florin / AFP (Getty Images)

New research this week seems to confirm the suspicion that coronavirus can infect more and more human organs, not just our respiratory system. It was also found that the virus sometimes remains in the body even after the onset of symptoms. Preliminary results may shed light on the complexities of chronic covid fever that some survivors experience.

SARS-CoV-2 is known to be a virus that causes respiratory infections, such as the flu or other human coronaviruses. In the short term, its dangerous symptoms have a high respiratory rate, while serious cases are often associated with lung disease and pneumonia. But evidence from the lab and from patients has shown that the virus can travel throughout the body and regenerate other tissues, thanks to receptors used to capture cells. Recently, for example, scientists he found evidence that coronavirus can transmit fat cells and immune systems easily.

Scientists who conducted the new study, particularly from the National Institutes of Health, say that they are still the most comprehensive study of how coronavirus can transmit various parts of the human body and brain. To do this, the researchers conducted a comprehensive study of 44 people infected with coronavirus. In all but five cases, the disease was directly related to the death of the person.

Overall, the team found more signs of coronavirus beyond the slow, early and late respiratory infections. Its presence was actually elevated in the airways and lungs. But they also found evidence of cardiovascular disease in about 80% of patients; in the gastrointestinal tract 73% of patients, with muscle, skin, adipose (fat), and peripheral nervous muscles 68% of patients. Of all the 85 body parts and fluids studied, the virus was found – sometimes – in 79 of them, including the brain. He was diagnosed with RNA viruses throughout the body and brain several months after symptoms began, up to 230 days in one patient.

“Our findings confirm that SARS-CoV-2 causes viral infections and can remain in the body for months,” the authors wrote in their paper, which was released as a treatment. pre-print Sunday but it is being highlighted for publication in Nature magazine, according to Bloomberg News.

There are important limitations to this research. For one, the cases obviously tended to involve people severely ill with covid-19. But even in the few cases where someone had mild or no covid-related symptoms, the virus could still be found throughout the body, the authors noted. The study was also conducted between April 2020 to March 2021, a period of time when relatively few people were vaccinated. So it’s possible that those with some immunity may prevent the virus from infecting the body as thoroughly as it did in these patients (there was no mention of anyone being vaccinated in the paper). The emergence of several new variants of the virus, such as Delta and Omicron, since March may further complicate the picture.

All that said, the findings give us a clearer picture of how acute infection by SARS-CoV-2 works and how it could continue to cause trouble after the initial illness seems to resolve. Some experts trust that perhaps some long-term covid cases may be the result of chronic disease. But while these findings provide compelling evidence that chronic illness does occur, they also raise new questions.

For example, the team found little evidence that the presence of the virus outside the lungs is associated with direct inflammation or injury associated with the virus in the cells, even in chronic diseases. This is important because inflammation is one of the most common forms of self-injury, and many experts believe it plays a major role in long-term symptoms of covid. In some cases of chronic illness, the authors added, the virus may be too bad to recur, which may explain why the body did not respond as a common disease. These findings do not exclude the possibility that the virus is still harmful to the body, but add new wrinkles to the long-term covid secret that scientists must continue to study.

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