Eerie virtual reality video reveals how coronavirus rapidly spreads through the lungs, causing widespread and potentially long-term damage.
Doctors at George Washington University 360-degree virtual reality technology to visualize the lungs of a COVID-19 patient who was transferred to their hospital.
Just days before the images were taken, the patient, a man in his late-50s, had no symptoms whatsoever, according to CNN.
But by the time he was in the care of Dr Keith Mortman, chief of thoracic surgery at the hospital, disease had wreaked havoc in his lungs, clearly visible in the images as swaths of cloudy, green swaths of damaged tissue.
Coraonavirus infection is seen widespread in both lungs of a George Washington University patient in his 50s (green) in vivid 360 degree 3D virtual reality video
From above, the contrast between the infected lung tissue and the blue bronchial tree is clear
The man had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and put into isolation at another hospital, where he had nothing more than cold-like symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath.
But within days, his condition started to deteriorate rapidly.
Doctors at his original hospital placed the man on a ventilator, but even that wasn’t enough and he was transferred to George Washington University (GWU).
Dr Mortman and his team converted scans of the man’s lungs in to a virtual reality video that recreated the man’s chest cavity in three-dimensions in 360 degrees.
A scan shows how a healthy lung should look, with light blue colorization showing healthy, clear tissue (left). The coronavirus patient’s lungs are clouded with many areas of infection (green)
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?
Like other coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold and that triggered SARS, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness.
- The most common symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
Although having a runny nose doesn’t rule out coronavirus, it doesn’t thus far appear to be a primary symptom.
Most people only become mildly ill, but the infection can turn serious and even deadly, especially for those who are older or have underlying health conditions.
In these cases, patients develop pneumonia, which can cause:
- Potentially with yellow, green or bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Pain when breathing, especially when breathing deeply or coughing
- Low appetite, energy and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting (more common in children)
- Confusion (more common in elderly people)
- Some patients have also reported diarrhea and kidney failure has occasionally been a complication.
Avoid people with these symptoms. If you develop them, call your health care provider before going to the hospital or doctor, so they and you can prepare to minimize possible exposure if they suspect you have coronavirus.
‘It becomes obvious very quickly that there’s such a stark contrast between virus-infected, abnormal lung tissue and the more healthy adjacent lung tissue,’ said Dr Mortman in a GWU podcast interview.
In the video, some lung tissue appears clear and colorized a light, translucent blue. the bronchial tree – the system of airways that runs into and throughout the lung – is a more solid, strong blue, in most places.
But green-colorized inflamed tissue is clearly visible in many places throughout both lungs.
‘It’s such a contrast that you don’t need an MD after your name to understand these images,’ said Dr Mortman.
‘It’s not isolated to any one part of the lung, there is damage to both lungs, diffusely.
‘You can see the destruction that is being caused in the lungs and why these patients’ lungs are failing to the point of needing a mechanical ventilator.’
So far, about 80 percent of US COVID-19 patients develop only mild infection and symptoms.
The other 20 percent have to be hospitalized, and of them nearly 14 percent become severely ill. Just over six percent fall into critical condition and their lugs may fail.
‘It starts off as this viral infection then it becomes severe inflammation in the lungs and when that inflammation does not subside with time, it becomes, essentially, scarring…creating long-term damage and it could really impact somebody’s ability to breathe in the long-term,’ explained Dr Mortman.
Coronavirus moves from the upper respiratory tract – the nose, mouth, throat and upper portion of the lungs -down into the deeper reaches of the lungs.
Pneumonia is the inflammation of this lower region of the lungs. The alveoli, little air sacs responsible for the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen, may fill with liquid or pus, making it difficult to breathe.
A 3D look inside the lungs shows the infection spreading to both sides and deep into their lower reaches (green)
Dr Keith Mortman says that this level of inflammation can do long-lasting damage that will make it harder for the patient to breathe down the line
That’s where ventilators come in, but they’re in short supply in the US where state governments and hospitals are all vying for the limited number available to treat their sickest patients.
Although seniors and people with underlying health conditions – especially respiratory ones – are most at-risk, it’s something happening to younger people, including the GWU patient, too.
‘Young people are becoming infected with the virus and we’re seeing more and more reports every day of younger patients being admitted to hospitals,’ said Dr Mortman.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
According to Chinese data, one in five patients with COVID-19 may be ill enough to need medical intervention. For the rest wild symptoms, the best medication could be ibuprofen and paracetamol, as this controls fever and pain.
In order to help rebuild the immune system post-virus, experts recommend antioxidants which can be obtained from a variety of foods, such as berries, garlic and onion.
Vitamin Injections London founder Bianca Estelle has recommended cocktails of vitamins and minerals, intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injection, as an alternative to oral supplements which can be harmful to the stomach in high doses.
The UK-based clinic administers high doses (dependent on factors including age and health condition. The antiviral concoctions are also great for preventing free radical damage and reducing inflammation caused by viruses.
According to Chinese data, one in five patients with COVID-19 may be ill enough to need medical intervention. File image
B Complex vitamins also help boost the immune system after a viral infection.
‘Specifically B6,’ Estelle says. ‘It gives cells the energy they require to communicate effectively and function.’ B6 supports red blood cell production and reduces inflammation. It cannot be made by the body naturally.
Coronavirus victims have reported symptoms of fatigue, body aches, fever, coughing and sneezing.
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that protects the body against the effects of harmful agents (internal and external) and can negatively affect metabolic processes, leading to tiredness and fatigue.
Chinese studies have been treating some infected people with high doses of vitamin C due to its anti-viral properties.
Since it has a very low toxicity level, there is no risk of damaging vital organs, as long as the correct dose is administered for an individual as recommended by a health expert.
According to a WHO study on respiratory tract infections, ‘Vitamin D deficiency may affect the immune system as vitamin D plays an immunomodulation role, enhancing innate immunity by up-regulating the expression and secretion of antimicrobial peptides, which boosts mucosal defenses’. Magnesium is also found in vegetables, milk and fish (pictured)
According to a World Health Organization study on respiratory tract infections, ‘Vitamin D deficiency may affect the immune system as vitamin D plays an immunomodulation role, enhancing innate immunity by up-regulating the expression and secretion of antimicrobial peptides, which boosts mucosal defenses’.
Airborne illnesses such as coronavirus can get into the system via mucous membranes; eyes, nose and mouth.
Estelle hails the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of D3, otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’. Darker skin tones have more difficulty obtaining the benefits of vitamin D but slow-release adhesive skin patches provide 12 hours of continuous D3 supplementation, delivered directly into the bloodstream.
‘The Vitamin D Shot is a safe treatment,’ VitaminInjections.co.uk states. ‘Rarely, however, Vitamin D injections can lead to a number of side effects – the most common of which are stomach discomfort and nausea.’
Darker skin tones have more difficulty obtaining the benefits of vitamin D but slow-release adhesive skin patches provide 12 hours of continuous D3 supplementation
Magnesium helps reduce inflammation in tissues and regulates the immune system response. Notably it helps keep organs, bones and nerves healthy.
Found in vegetables, milk, fish, pulses, and grains, about 15 percent is absorbed via oral supplement and it’s absorbed at a much higher rate via IV.
Zinc helps flush out damaged cells and fight infection.
According to VitaminInjections.co.uk, the trace mineral, stimulates the activities of nearly one hundred enzymes and is necessary for the healthy functioning of the body. Individuals lacking in this nutrient may be more susceptible to illness, meaning that an adequate amount of Zinc should ideally be present in the body’s cells.
Zinc is recommended for supplementing pre-existing deficiencies in order to enhance the body’s natural ability to defend itself against foreign invaders.