100 days have passed since the emergence of the new Corona virus, which turned into a “Covid-19” epidemic, and invaded most of the countries of the world, causing the death of more than 109 thousand people and injuring more than 1.7 million people. Throughout this period, scientists were studying the virus, so what did they know about it Until now?
It is known that corona viruses have long caused problems for mankind, and that several strains of them lead to common colds. Recently, two strains caused deadly diseases, namely acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), according to (Lebanon). 24).
But the effect of these viruses was moderate compared to the global devastation caused by the new Corona virus, which causes the “Covid-19” epidemic. In just a few months, this virus caused closures in dozens of countries and killed more than 109,000 people.
This is an unusual “achievement” for a thorny ball of genetic material coated with fatty chemicals called lipids, which have a diameter of less than 80 parts per billion meters. In short, “a very humble attacker succeeded in harming the world,” according to the British Guardian newspaper.
On the other hand, our knowledge of the new coronavirus is also distinguished. For 100 days ago, this organism was not known to scientists, and today it has become the focus of attention of researchers on an unprecedented scale, and projects of vaccines against it are accelerating, so that the question that remains to many minds remains: What have we learned During the past months, and how can this knowledge put an end to this epidemic?
Where did this virus come from and how did it infect humans for the first time?
Researchers have discovered that the new SK virus almost certainly arose in bats that developed fierce immune responses against viruses, and these defenses cause viruses to multiply faster so that they can bypass the immune defenses of bats, which in turn turns the bat into a repository for rapidly reproductive and transmissible viruses.
And when these bat viruses spread to other mammals, creatures lacking a responsive immune system, viruses quickly spread to their new hosts.
Most of the evidence indicates that the new corona virus has begun to infect humans through intermediate species, such as the eating of pangolin.
As for its spread, this occurs when drops or spray containing the virus are blown out by an infected person while coughing or sneezing.
How does the virus spread and how does it affect people?
According to the virologist, Professor at the University of Nottingham, Jonathan Paul is inhaling people who are not infected with particles that have been torn by viruses and come into contact with cells lining the throat and throat. These cells contain a large number of receptors, known as Ace-2 receptors, on their surfaces, where they play Cell receptors play a major role in passing chemicals to cells and stimulating signals between cells.
Once the virus enters, the RNA injects itself with the cell’s transcription machine, makes multiple copies of the virus, then these cells explode and spread the infection, and ultimately the antibodies generated by the body’s immune system target the virus and stop its progress in most cases.
“Corona’s new infection is generally mild, and this is the secret of the virus’s success … Many people don’t even notice that they have been infected, so they go to their businesses, homes, and supermarkets, and they prepare others without knowing,” Paul added.
Why does the virus sometimes cause death?
Sometimes, the virus can cause serious problems, as this occurs when it penetrates into the respiratory system and infects the lungs, which are the richest organs in cells that contain “ACE 2″ receptors.
Many of these cells are destroyed, the lungs are crowded with the remains of broken cells, and in these cases, patients will need treatment in intensive care.
Worse, in some cases, a person’s immune system increases, attracting cells to the lungs to attack the virus, which leads to inflammation, and this process can spin out of control, more immune cells flow, and inflammation increases, and this is known as ” Cytokine storm “, and in some cases, this could cause the death of the patient.
It is not clear why some “cytokine storms” occurred in some patients, but one possibility is that some people have more ES2 receptor release mechanism than others when exposed to the Corona virus attacks.
Is lifelong immunity formed if we become infected?
Doctors examining patients recovering from Covid-19 find somewhat high levels of neutral antibodies in their blood, which the human immune system makes, encapsulating the attacking virus at specific points, hampering its ability to penetrate cells.
Some scientists believe that the antibodies that the immune system manages to build will provide protection against infection in the future, but this protection is unlikely to be lifelong.
In short, the virus will be with us for some time, but can its virulence change? Some researchers have suggested that it could become less lethal, while others have argued that it could turn out to be more lethal, but the virologist at Imperial College in London, Mike Skinner, doubts this, and says “We have to think about this epidemic from the perspective of the virus that it is It is spreading all over the world very well. Why should it change? ”
When will we get a vaccine?
Nature magazine reported in its Friday issue that 78 vaccine projects have been launched against this virus around the world.
Among the ongoing projects are a vaccine program that is now in the first phase of experiments at Oxford, and other projects in US biotechnology companies and Chinese science groups, while many other vaccine developers say they plan to start testing in humans this year.