Preview of courage and hope

Preview of courage and hope

2020-05-17 15:51:00

What will help to defeat the coronavirus? All hope for spring

 

The spread of coronavirus, according to some scientists, may slow down with the advent of spring and an increase in air temperature. Indeed, many viruses last longer in the cold.

 

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, apparently, after China, South Korea, Japan and Italy is now rapidly spreading in Germany. But spring is not far off. And all hope for her. If this virus behaves in much the same way as a normal flu virus, then, as the daily air temperature rises, optimists hope that the situation should defuse itself. As the flu epidemic usually ends in spring, the coronavirus epidemic may end.

But is such a hope justified? Virologist Thomas Pietschmann from the Center for Experimental and Clinical Studies of Infections in Hanover cannot yet unambiguously answer this question, because it is not yet possible to compare influenza viruses with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, about which practically nothing is known.

Virus - Perishable Product

The peculiarity of this virus is that people first encountered it, the scientist explained. Based on the data obtained from China, he concluded that the virus passed from animal to man only once. And this turned out to be enough for such a single, “zero” patient to become the cause of the entire subsequent spread of infection.

 

This is a fundamental difference from the flu, with the viruses of which people have somehow ever had contact, but the human immune system was completely unprepared for the attack of the coronavirus.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that in the northern hemisphere now there are simply ideal conditions for the rapid propagation of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which include cold weather. Viruses that cause respiratory infections, that is, affecting the respiratory tract and lungs, feel good at low temperatures. “In the cold, they last longer, like food in the refrigerator,” explains Thomas Pitchman.

In heat and moisture, viruses die

The warmer it becomes, the more difficult it is for many viruses to survive. "The coronavirus is covered with lipids, that is, a kind of fatty membrane that quickly collapses with increasing temperature, and with it the virus itself," says the scientist. However, there are much more heat-resistant viruses, to which Pitchman refers, for example, noroviruses, which mainly consist of protein and genomes, cause intestinal infections.

For some other causative agents of the disease, the external temperature does not matter at all. So, dengue viruses are most often found in regions with a tropical and subtropical climate. True, not because these viruses love heat. It’s just that mosquitoes are found in these latitudes that carry them. “That is, in this case,” says Pitchman, “insects, rather than temperature, play the main role in the spread of pathogens.”

 

But much depends on air humidity. The drier it is, the more likely it is to get infected. The virus enters the atmosphere as a result of a sneeze or cough of a sick person. Once outside, the virus literally hangs in the air. "On cold and usually dry winter days, in such a suspended state, the smallest droplets with viruses remain longer than with high humidity," Pitchman explained.

From the air they enter the body of a healthy person, but at first they behave quietly and imperceptibly. It may take weeks before the first symptoms of the disease appear. The duration of the incubation period depends on the biological characteristics of the virus itself.

The female body is more persistent than the male

Typical symptoms of a viral infection are fever, joint pain, chills. The appearance of these symptoms means that the human body began to struggle with uninvited guests. How successful this struggle will be depends not only on the person’s age and state of health, but also on his gender. SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection statistics show that infected men die due to the disease more often than women. Mortality among men is 2.8 percent, women - 1.7 percent.

 

Omas Pitchman explains this, in particular, with the genetic differences between male and female organisms. “The fact is,” he says, “that some genes important for the immune system that can recognize pathogens are encoded on X chromosomes.” The advantage of women is that they have two X chromosomes, while men have only one. In addition, sex hormones estrogen, which men do not have, also help women protect themselves from viral infections.

But maybe, with the beginning of spring, the epidemic of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 will actually decline in the northern hemisphere? I would like to believe. Meanwhile, as reported by the World Health Organization, a case of infection with it is now registered in Brazil, in the southern hemisphere. And there winter is just beginning.

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