How Covid-19 Damages Lungs, Other Organs

The cells of Covid-19 could “explode,” which can cause significant damage to the lungs and other organs in the body, discovered an entire group of UK researchers, including one of Indian origin.

SARS-CoV-2 has created acute respiratory discomfort and even death in a few patients. While severe Covid is linked to significant inflammation, the virus’s mechanism makes inflammation isn’t clear.

A condition known as the cytokine storm, which occurs in which the immune system produces too many immune-fighting substances known as cytokines, which later attack healthy tissues – is also known for a long time to cause significant damage in response to Covid infection and often leads to the failure of multiple organs.

The study, carried out by a group from Royal Free London (RFL), revealed that immune cells infected with Covid are susceptible to undergoing a “cell explosion” called pyroptosis and can cause damaging inflammation in those who become extremely sick from the virus.

Although pyroptosis kills viruses, it also causes the release of inflammatory substances in the bloodstream. These inflamed contents circulate in the body, causing damage to the lungs and various organs within the body, as stated in the study released in Nature.

The research findings will aid researchers in developing more effective methods to stop the disease, according to co-author RFL consultant Hepatologist Gautam Mehta.

“The path of pyroptosis functions as an alarm system. If it detects viruses or bacteria within the cell, it triggers an explosion of the cell and the release of pro-inflammatory substances. This is beneficial in killing the infection but could cause extreme inflammation. Mehta said that pyroptosis is a “fantastic way of dying cells,” Mehta said.

The same thing can happen in patients suffering from liver diseases in which gut bacteria has caused the liver infection. To eliminate the bacteria, liver cells undergo the process of pyroptosis – the cells explode, releasing inflammatory substances which harm the surrounding cells.

Mehta explained that in patients with liver disease, this is a “leaky gut,” which means that bacterial components can enter the liver via the gut and cause the liver cells to become pyroptosis, which leads to the liver failing.

“In Covid-19, it seems that this happens due to the virus triggering the immune system to pyroptosis, which is beneficial in getting rid of the virus, but could cause hyper-inflammation in certain individuals. It’s this inflammation that could cause acute respiratory distress as well as multiple organ damage,” the researcher said.