A significant portion of those affected with the new coronavirus may not show any symptoms at all. And even those who develop symptoms, the majority of cases will be mild. However, several people get severely ill from the COVID-19. So, why do people react differently to the virus that has affected every individual on Earth? And which category do you fall under?
According to a study conducted by UCLA, it was reported that an overdrive of the immune response might be leading to severe cases of COVID-19. Currently, doctors and health practitioners are trying to decipher the difference between a protective and the pathological immune response to COVID-19. In a healthy immune response, the immune system kicks and starts recruiting cells (WBC) from the blood. The immune systems collect the White Blood Cells (WBC) from the blood to clear the virus.
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However, in individual patients, the immune system tends to go into overdrive. In such cases, the immune system starts secreting cytokines instead of getting rid of the virus. This is known as the cytokine storm, which can damage the tissue. Therefore, instead of helping the patient cope with the infection, the cytokines can cause damage to the tissue making the situation worse. Cytokines can break down the protective lining of the lung and the blood vessels.
These cytokine storms were historically responsible for many deaths during the 1918 flu pandemic and other viral outbreaks. And now, it is reported that these cytokine storms are behind the most severe cases of COVID-19. Doctors are yet to decipher the exact immune response needed for the body to tackle the virus and recover from the infection. Simultaneously, it is still unknown what types of pathogens drive the disease itself.