Published: 25 May, 2020 | Volume 4 - Issue 1 | Pages: 056-064
The infectivity and pathogenesis: SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of Covid-19, involves Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors on type II alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells in lungs. Apart from, the upper and lower respiratory tracts, the disease affects the gastrointestinal system prominently, as evidenced by the significant GI symptoms, early in the course of the disease. In addition, the virus infects ACE2-bearing cells in other organs including the heart and blood vessels, brain, and kidneys.
Clinical features and morbidity: The clinical spectrum of COVID-19 varies from asymptomatic or pauci-symptomatic presentation to moderate to severe states characterized by respiratory failure necessitating mechanical ventilation and ICU support and those manifesting critical clinical condition with complications like sepsis, septic shock, and multiple organ dysfunction failure. The CT chest is an important tool for early identification of COVID-19 pneumonia as well as for prognostic purposes.
The recovery and residual damage: The recovery and other outcomes vary depending on age and other aspects including sex, comorbidities, and genetic factors. The outlook for older adults, who account for a disproportionate share of critical disease, is unfavorable, and most of those who survive are unlikely to return to their previous level of functioning. The disease affects their long-term health and quality of life as well as brings in propensity for truncated post-disease survival.
COVID-19 aftermath and follow up: The patients discharged from hospital following severe COVID-19, continue to suffer with lingering impact of the disease as well as that of the emergency treatments that saved their life. The post-infection reduced exercise tolerance and other subtle factors, like post viral fatigue syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, impaired concentration, delirium, and disturbed sleep-wake cycle often underly the functional impairment. In fact, there is need of step-down care and later a multidisciplinary support involving regular clinical assessment, respiratory review, physiotherapy, nutritional advice, and psychiatric support.
Conclusion: The life after COVID-19: After recovery from the disease, the virus SARS-CoV-2, may persist for uncertain period. In addition, the chance of reinfection cannot be ruled out. The vitamin D supplementation may be helpful. In general, the quality of life (QOL) in ICU survivors improves but remains lower than general population levels, but most of the patients adapt well to their level of self-sufficiency and QOL. Also, the debility due to co-morbidities may further compromise the activity of daily living and QOL issues. The Age and severity of illness appear to be the major predictors of post-discharge physical functioning.
ACE2; Acute COVID-19 cardiovascular syndrome; Acute respiratory distress syndrome; COVID-19; Cytokine storm syndrome; SARS-CoV-2