On Advice Blog

COVID-19 and Underlying Health Conditions

16th Apr 2020

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When a person intakes a few hundred virus particles, the virus can get a ‘foothold’ and start reproducing, the body’s defences fire up.  Initially with a generic defence we are all familiar with, raised temperature, head aches, muscle pain and inflammation.  This is the Innate Immune Response (IIR), and the reaction is in an effort to make the body a less desirable host environment and perhaps ‘kill off’ the pathogen i.e. if the bacteria or virus can’t survive over 39oC.   After a couple of weeks our body produces a specific response, the Acquired Immune Response (AIR) which is more targeted toward the affected cells.  The AIR also stands down the IIR, the patient starts to feel better and beats the disease.  When someone is immunocompromised the AIR can be delayed or not occur, meaning the virus can keep replicating, increasing the IIR response.  Inflammation of cells start to affect neighbouring cells which can quickly become uncontrolled and leads to intensive care intervention.