EYEAFRICA TV: Wuhan City, Hubei Province, Central China: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) causes relatively milder damage to the lungs, compared with the virus that causes the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, a Chinese pathologist said after performing autopsies on several bodies to study the cause and effects of the disease.
Bian Xiuwu, a pathologist from the Southwest Hospital affiliated to the Third Military Medical University, said that pathologists have finished several autopsies so far and found some differences.
“Through comparing the two, we found some differences. Firstly, telling from the severity to the lungs, especially damage to the pulmonary alveoli, it is a little bit milder,” said Bian.
Bian also said that the hyperplasia of Type II cells in the alveolar wall are found in both SARS and the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, but the hyperplasia is more severe this time.
“The hyperplasia of Type II cells in the alveolar wall are found in both, but for SARS, the hyperplasia would largely fall into the alveolar space. With COVID-19 the hyperplasia is quite active, and there are many in the alveolar wall and some fall into the alveolar space, especially in the advanced stage. So, there is a difference of severity, not in the essence,” said Bian.
According to Bian, differences are also found in the process of the fibrosis and damage to other organs.
“There is a difference in the process of the fibrosis. For SARS, inclusion bodies are very common, but for this disease, we’ve tried many swabs and found it hard to find. It is relatively less. It shows that the existence and that the level of aggression in the viruses are different. In addition, for other organs apart from the lungs, we found that damage to the spleen, the lymph, and the lymph glands are relatively severe. The necrosis is severe as well. It shows that apart from the lungs, which is a major target organ, many other organs, especially the immune system are damaged. Such damage may be caused by the virus directly, or by damage to the entire body including the cytokines,” said Bian.