A daunting virtual reality video shows how the deadly coronavirus pathogen rapidly spreads through the lungs of a healthy individual who had shown no visible symptoms days earlier.
Doctors at George Washington University in the US used 360-degree virtual reality technology to reveal the shocking reality of Covid-19 – and the widespread and potentially long-term damage it can cause.
The medics captured the video while treating a man in his late fifties who was transferred to their hospital.
Just days before he arrived at the hospital, the patient, who has not been named, reportedly had no symptoms of coronavirus whatsoever.
The damage caused is clearly visible in the VR video as the cloudy green marks show the damaged tissue filling the man’s lungs, in contrast to the healthy tissue which is coloured blue.
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.
Despite this, days later his condition began to deteriorate rapidly and doctors at the original hospital were forced to put the man on a ventilator.
But when that wasn’t enough to stabilise him, he was taken to George Washington University (GWU) for urgent treatment.
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.
Around one out of every six who gets Covid-19 become seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Patients can develop pneumonia and swelling in the lungs, which can make it hard for the lungs to pass oxygen into the bloodstream – leading to organ failure and death.
Severe pneumonia can kill people by causing them to “drown” in the fluid flooding their lungs.
Severe cases will require a ventilator to be able to deliver enough oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Without one, the patient could die.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are at most risk developing serious illness.
However, the disease is affecting younger patients too.