Coronavirus: recovered, but with damaged lungs

There are hopeful figures: more than 80,000 people have recovered from COVID-19 lung disease, thanks to the fact that the disease only had a mild or moderate development in their case and / or because they received good medical attention. This is a high and welcome figure, but there is still relatively little information about their health after they have overcome the disease.

With great relief and joy, some describe how they have physically survived this time, which has been psychologically very stressful: the healing of symptoms, the uncertainty, the exhausting phase of isolation. They are happy to now be immune to SARS-CoV-2 after surviving the disease.

Complete recovery?

In the coming months, research will show if there are any isolated cases of permanent late effects in patients recovered from COVID-19. The focus is mainly on the lungs. Since the new SARS CoV-2 pathogen primarily attacks the lower respiratory tract, people infected with a moderate or severe course of the disease have a dry cough, shortness of breath, and / or pneumonia.

Hong Kong doctors have discovered reduced lung function and persistent shortness of breath in some coronavirus patients, despite having overcome the viral infection. Although they have only been able to examine a comparatively small group, there are early indications of possible late effects.

"In> Owen Tsang Tak-yin, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong. "They gasp when they go a little faster," added the doctor. The tomography of some patients shows a kind of glassy milky haze in the lungs, suggesting organ damage.

Hong Kong findings confirm early investigations of Wuhan in early February 2020. In a study, scientists at the Hospital Zhongnam of the University of Wuhan analyzed 140 lung scans of patients with coronavirus and they found a transparent, milky-looking cloud in their lungs.

Suspicion of fibrosis pulmonary

Subsequent investigations of patients recovered from COVID-19 they should now show if they have developed fibrosis lung in which the connective tissue of the lung becomes inflamed. This leads to a pathological proliferation of the connective tissue between the alveoli and the surrounding blood vessels.

This makes it difficult for oxygen to reach the blood vessels, hardens the lungs, and makes breathing shallow and fast. Respiratory disorders, shortness of breath and dry chest cough are the consequences, physical performance decreases, even daily activities become difficult.

If detected early, the fibrosis pulmonary can be braked

The fibrosis The lung is incurable, because the scars on the lung tissue do not disappear. But the progression of fibrosis Pulmonary can be delayed and sometimes even stop, if detected early.

Do patients recovered from COVID-19?

Most experts are convinced that patients COVID-19 recovered they are immune to the new virus once the disease is overcome. After all, the system itself immune it has produced exactly those antibodies during infection that make the pathogen harmless.

The same applies to those who had a mild development of the disease and in whom only few or perhaps no symptoms were observed. However, your system immune reacted to the pathogen and produced the corresponding antibodies. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that a new infection will reoccur. coronavirus.