Hyderabad: The new strain of corona virus found recently in China affects the lungs and causes acute respiratory distress syndrome according to pulmonologists who are following the case. This causes lungs to fill with fluid and air is not able to get in.
Dr C. Vijay Kumar, senior pulmonologist at Apollo Hospitals, says the treated cases have shown that the impact on the lungs is severe. “The virus is found to attack the lungs faster than expected from the group of corona viruses. This indicates that the virus is virulent in nature,” he said.
Corona viruses are zoonotic which means that they are transmitted from animals to humans. This large family of viruses cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe pneumonia. It can also lead to death. Corona viruses mutate for survival and they look for favourable conditions where they can survive.
The SARS CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans, MERS-CoV was from dromedary camels to humans and H1N1 virus came from the intestines of pigs. There are several viruses in the bodies of animals but they do not infect humans.
Many corona viruses are also self-limiting in nature. It is only those that undergo mutation that are a cause of worry. The cycle of mutation is noted every three to four years.
Every year, there is a new strain of virus and the vaccination schedule is based on these strains. While vaccination is a protection it is not completely so as its efficacy is only between 60 to 70 per cent.
Since the last five years it has been found that flu vaccinations are not working as required as there are many different strains of viruses around.
Dr Mehboob Khan, superintendent of Chest Hospital explained, “Why do we need to know the strain of the virus? Because the strain helps us decide on the medications that are to be used. Common flu has a single medicine which works for all. But if there is a new strain or a mutated strain, the existing medicines will require different combinations to control spread of the virus in the body.”
When the human body is infected, the immune system fights the virus. While the immune system is engaged with the virus, dormant bad bacteria in the lungs get active and they attack the body.
The virus is self-limiting and will die, and it is the bacteria which creates secondary infection like lung collapse, kidney damage or multi-organ failure leading to death....