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Why and how does coronavirus kill some people rather than others?

DECRYPTION – The Covid-19 mainly kills the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases. But not only. Le Figaro takes stock of how the virus works and how it can kill you.

The virus can affect organs such as the kidney or colon, but the upper airways and bronchi remain its prime targets.
The virus can affect organs such as the kidney or colon, but the upper airways and bronchi remain its prime targets. MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP

Coronavirus. This word, almost unknown to the general public a few weeks ago, is now on everyone’s lips. On Monday March 9, SARS-CoV-2, which appeared in China at the end of December, had already infected more than 110,000 people and caused nearly 4,000 deaths worldwide. If scientists are still far from having uncovered all its secrets, we already know that this virus is capable of deeply shaking the organism of the most fragile, to the point of causing death. By what mechanisms? Le Figaro make the point.

What the virus does to the body

Once the virus has cleared its way to the body, it will quickly infect a cell to multiply there because it does not have sufficient resources to do it alone. But it does not target all cells without distinction. “Like those of SARS and the Seas, this virus is able in particular to cling to receptors on the surface of lung cells, but also of renal and colon cells”, explains Professor Anne Goffard, doctor and virologist at the CHU

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