ACE-2 receptors

Exploring pathophysiology of COVID-19 infection: Faux espoir and dormant therapeutic options

Published on: 5th May, 2020

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8620512199

COVID-19 virus structural components: The 2019-nCoV, also called SARS-CoV-2, was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019. The disease was named Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the virus responsible for it as the COVID-19 virus, respectively, by WHO. The 2019-nCoV has a round, elliptic or pleomorphic form with a diameter of 60–140 nm. It has single-stranded RNA genome containing 29891 nucleotides, a lipid shell, and spike, envelope, membrane and hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) proteins. Steps in progression of COVID-19 illness: Once inside the airways, the S protein on the viral surface recognizes and mediates the attachment to host ACE-2 receptors and gains access to endoplasmic reticulum. The HE protein facilitates the S protein-mediated cell entry and virus spread through the mucosa, helping the virus to attack the ACE2-bearing cells lining the airways and infecting upper as well as lower respiratory tracts. With the dying cells sloughing down and filling the airways, the virus is carried deeper into the lungs. In addition, the virus is able to infect ACE2-bearing cells in other organs, including the blood vessels, gut and kidneys. With the viral infestation, the activated immune system leads to inflammation, pyrexia and pulmonary edema. The hyperactivated immune response, called cytokine storm in extreme cases, can damage various organs apart from lungs and increases susceptibility to infectious bacteria especially in those suffering from chronic diseases. The current therapeutics for COVID-19: At present, there is no specific antiviral treatment available for the disease. The milder cases may need no treatment. In moderate to severe cases, the clinical management includes infection prevention and control measures, and symptomatic and supportive care, including supplementary oxygen therapy. In the critically ill patients, mechanical ventilation is required for respiratory failure and hemodynamic support is imperative for managing circulatory failure and septic shock. Conclusion: Confusion, despair and hopes: There is no vaccine for preexposure prophylaxis or postexposure management. There are no specific approved drugs for the treatment for the disease. A number of drugs approved for other conditions as well as several investigational drugs are being canned and studied in several clinical trials for their likely role in COVID-19 prophylaxis or treatment. The future seems afflicted with dormant therapeutic options as well as faux Espoir or false hopes. As obvious, not all clinical trials will be successful, but having so many efforts in progress, some may succeed and provide a positive solution. Right now, though, confusion and despair prevail.
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COVID-19 pandemic, recurrent outbreaks and prospects for assimilation of hCoV-19 into the human genome

Published on: 12th October, 2020

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8683060462

The outbreaks and resurgence: The disease which reportedly began in the Chinese city Wuhan in November-December 2019, soon spread to various parts of the world, and was named and declared a pandemic disease by WHO. While the European countries were recovering from the epidemic, the disease took hold in the USA, the South American countries, Arabian countries, and South Asian countries, predominantly affecting Brazil, Peru, Iran, and India. Presently, many European countries are witnessing a resurgence and recurrent outbreaks of COVID-19. Spread and evolving new insights: Whereas there is workplace-related infection rise as people are returning to their offices, in other places the outbreaks are related to the people crowding and meeting care-freely and trying to resort back to their earlier way of life. The reopening of the educational facilities across the continents may make matters worse. Impact on health and healthcare: Most cases of COVID-19 infections go unnoticed and are followed by self-recovery. But what may appear good from the clinical perspective, appears to complicate epidemiological efforts to contain the outbreak. With the evolving information about the disease, there seem to be certain possible outcomes such as control and containment, or the persistence of the disease as global endemic accompanied with outbreaks and resurgent episodes. Gnetic factors linked to disease severity: With the COVID-19 pandemic, not all infected patients develop a severe respiratory illness. Further, there is a large variation in disease severity, which may be due to the genetic factors underlying the variable response to the virus. It is becoming clear that apart from the advanced age and pre-existing conditions, certain genetic constituent factors render some patients more vulnerable to the more severe forms of the diseases. Integration of virus into human genome: A significant part of the human genome is derived from viruses especially the RNA viruses. In fact, about 8 percent of the human genome is made up of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), which are viral gene sequences that have become a permanent part of the human lineage after they infected our ancient ancestors. With this background, a novel concept emerging that if COVID-19 persists for several generations, its genetic material is projected to be integrated or assimilated into human genome. The involved mechanisms are conceptualized through the transposons or transposable elements of the SARS-CoV-2.
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