When a pathogen enters the human body it triggers local alarms that signal the immune system to take action and destroy the unknown entity. This is true whether it’s a virus, bacterium, or other types of microorganisms. The same thing happens with the novel coronavirus. Some immune responses are better and more efficient than others though, and that’s why some people experience a milder version of the disease and some have no symptoms at all. Other immune systems will react slower, so the virus will replicate with ease inside the lungs and cause all sorts of life-threatening complications. Then there’s always the overdrive response from the immune system that does more harm than good and can also result in death. Doctors are still trying to figure out why all of this happens and how it can be countered. Drugs like dexamethasone offer a potential treatment for patients experiencing a massive inflammatory response, but better meds are needed to significantly reduce complications and death.
Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio figured out what could be a vital element of SARS-CoV-2 behavior. The virus has a way of camouflaging itself once inside the cell to avoid detection. It doesn’t always happen, but this could explain what makes the new virus so dangerous and why some patients have a harder time getting rid of it.