• Question: When Coronavirus Enters Your Body, What exactly happens

    Asked by LeviMcM to Danielle, Ciara on 18 Nov 2021.
    • Photo: Danielle Nader

      Danielle Nader answered on 18 Nov 2021:

      Great question!

      The coronavirus is a respiratory virus, so it can only be inhaled through the nose or mouth. Thats why it is important to wear a mask and avoid touching your face. It will pass through the nasal cavities and enter the lungs, where it attach and enter lung cells.

      The virus will replicate many times in the cell and eventually, millions of viruses start to be released from the cell. Eventually, so many viruses are released that the cell dies. The dead cell releases damage markers that alerts the immune system that an invader is present. All the immune cells rush to the site of infection, but by then, the virus has already passed onto other cells.

      While the virus continues to infect these other cells and eventually enter the bloodstream, a buildup of immune cells, dead cells, and fluid starts to buildup at the site of infection (this is called inflammation). It becomes very difficult to breathe, which is why some people with COVID need respirators.

      Now, 2 scenarios can happen:
      First, the patient is young and healthy. Their immune system is strong enough to fight the virus and prevent it from infecting more cells. The inflammation calms down, and the virus is destroyed. This will last a couple of days with light symptoms.
      Or, the patient are older, with a weaker immune system. Their immune system is slower and cannot fight the virus in time to prevent it from spreading. Now the virus enters the bloodstream, where it can spread to other organs like the heart, liver, kidney. This process is called sepsis. This causes inflammation in all those organs too, which means the patient needs to go to the ICU immediately. If not treated, this patient could die.

      If you are vaccinated, you basically gave your cells a head start by saying, this is what the virus looks like, so be ready for when it infects us. This gives the immune system a better fighting chance to destroy the virus.

      Hope that helps! 🙂