It didn’t take long for virologists to recognize the elderly as the most vulnerable population as far as COVID-19 severity is concerned.
In addition to being more likely to have comorbidities that intensify the disease’s pathology, otherwise, healthy patients over the age of 60 consistently displayed more severe respiratory symptoms. This is still the case but the articulations are not as predictable as once believed.
The Adaptive Immune Response subsumes all of the systemic cells and mechanisms that come together to suppress the growth of a pathogen. The strength of this process is beholden to several bio-molecular factors, with age being chief among them.
“Someone’s immune response may be blunted and their ability to regulate temperature may be altered,” explained in Dr. Joseph Ouslander, a professor of geriatric medicine at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine, in a media statement. “Underlying chronic illnesses can mask or interfere with signs of infection. Some older people, whether from age-related changes or previous neurologic issues such as a stroke, may have altered cough reflexes. Others with cognitive impairment may not be able to communicate their symptoms.”
This means that the elderly are both disproportionately affected and uniquely difficult to assess. If you belong to any of the demographics listed above or are caring for someone who does, consider reviewing Dr. Sylvain Nguyen’s list of underreported atypical COVID-19 symptoms that impact older individuals.
-Low blood pressure
-Abdominal pain and the loss of smell and taste
The index is set to be published in the Swiss Medical Journal (Revue Médicale Suisse) in the near future.
In the meantime, experts have suggested high-risk communities stay on high-alert for any and all physiological abnormalities that result from SARS-Cov-2 infection until a categorical taxonomy of symptoms can be paired with every demographic.
The coronavirus staffing our current pandemic is a mutation of familiar zoonotic strains that came before. However, no characteristic can be taken for granted, even with a wealth of literature premised by similarly-acting pathogens at our disposal.
Recently, researchers identified 33 variations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus across eleven patient-derived isolates. Nineteen of these were completely new strains.
Different strains will result in different diseases in those infected by them.
“We observed intrapersonal variation and 6 different mutations in the spike glycoprotein (S protein), including 2 different SNVs that led to the same missense mutation. Therefore, we provide direct evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 has acquired mutations capable of substantially changing its pathogenicity,” the authors of the new paper write.
Often when new prodromes are reported to the public, not enough care is taken to extract panic from the coverage. Although some of the recent COVID-19 developments have certainly been disconcerting, as a nation, we’re more than capable of neutralizing any and every burgeoning catastrophe.
In respect to symptoms, the broad strokes may be similar, but the nuances are how doctors accurately provide consultation and therapeutics. The smaller the margin of error during the treatment process the smaller the casualty rate during the recovery process.
Some younger patients remain asymptomatic until the sudden onset of a stroke. Others evidence mild symptoms that persist for multiple weeks. Knowing this allows us to properly coordinate with our physicians.
Ultimately, the vast majority of cases will not require medical intervention but we need to understand all of the details that influence this figure as soon as possible if vulnerable populations like the elderly are going to help us reduce the fatality margin until COVID-19’s complete suppression.
“They get weak and dehydrated,” Dr. Sam Torbati, medical director of the Ruth and Harry Roman Emergency Department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center explained. “And when they stand to walk, they collapse and injure themselves badly. When we test them, we discover that what’s producing these changes is a central nervous system effect of coronavirus,”