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Thinking Outside the Box : the Corona Virus

 

As I watched the news this morning leading researchers covered the spread and recent findings from the Coronavirus.  They mentioned how this virus causes a mild to moderate flu-like symptoms for those who are middle-aged and younger.  However, for the elderly or immune-compromised cases, there was a more often worse prognosis with the Coronavirus, as the progression of infection would result in consolidation bilaterally in the lower lobe of the lungs.  

COVID-19 pneumonia in Korea primarily manifested as pure to mixed ground-glass opacities with a patchy to confluent or nodular shape in the bilateral peripheral posterior lungs. A considerable proportion of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia had normal chest radiographs.1

The peripheral and posterior lung fields were involved in 78% and 67% of the lesions, respectively. The lesions were typically ill-defined and were composed of mixed ground-glass opacities and consolidation or pure ground-glass opacities. Patchy to confluent lesions were primarily distributed in the lower lobes2

 

This seemingly consistent manifestation made me recall from my earlier studies, how after having an infection with the bacteria of tuberculosis, any reactivation of tuberculosis seems to reoccur with nodules developing in the upper lobes of the lungs.  This reactivation of tuberculosis seems to occur in the upper regions because there’s a 20% higher oxygen level in the upper lobes compared to the more vascular lower regions. Tuberculosis favors oxygen to evolve.

Coronavirus Consolidation

 

Reactivation of Tuberculosis

 

It is noteworthy that the elderly and disabled patients tend to be most at risk of death from this infection with the Coronavirus.  Outside of a depressed immune response to infection, there may be another relationship when considering the available air space with age.  

Most of the people with severe illness are older or have preexisting conditions, according to the WHO. Overall, cases in children have been rare, researchers report February 5 in JAMA.3

As we get older, our lung capacity and airway exchange tend to decrease.  This would, in theory, make for a more viable source of selection and prevalence for the elderly as well.  Further, younger patients having a more optimal expansion of the lungs could restrict the environment for infection.   Without a compromise of the airway, or preexisting pulmonary problems a healthy and capable expansion of the lungs may help in resistance from the Coronavirus

 

Given that the lower oxygen capacity from age-related lung conditions, this may allow the Coronavirus to more effectively take foot and embed itself in lower lung areas that have around 20% less oxygen levels.   I decided to explore this possibility through a cross-study to find what conditions could potentially deactivate the outer membrane of the Coronavirus. One study I found reported that the metal, Copper does seem effective in compromising the outer membrane of this virus.  

Inactivation of coronavirus on copper and copper alloy surfaces results in fragmentation of the viral genome, ensuring that inactivation is irreversible.4

 

Here, Copper seems to promote an increase of the superoxide reactivity, just like one would see in the host defense of our white cells.   It would seem to follow that an increase in airway capacity may provide less footing for the Coronavirus as well as hinder the growth and extension of spread by interfering with the outer membrane. It does seem reasonable that the use of some sort of common oxygen radical or superoxide promoter may prove beneficial in defense against this infection.  In absence of any other element recommended for prevention, Zinc, a metal used in lozenges, teas and medicinal drinks has been shown to limit the spread of infectious particles and limit the length of viral common colds. This is one of the main ingredients of over the counter medicines like Emergen-C and Air-borne. It makes me wonder if the liberal use of such supplements may prove helpful in limited the effects of the Coronavirus as well.  

 

Airborne OTC Supplements

 

I hope this may prove useful to my readers.  Stay healthy and please be mindful of thorough hand-washing. 

Greg

Reference


1,2. Chest Radiographic and CT Findings of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Analysis of Nine Patients Treated in Korea

  1. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/new-coronavirus-outbreak-your-most-pressing-questions-answered
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4659470/

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UPDATE: March 22, 2020

Recent research seems to align with the theoretical proposal offered in my recent blog on “Thinking outside the box”. As I have stated, Zinc may be an effective strategy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Further reports have also indicated that an anti-malaria drug, Chloroquine, could be a possible treatment for the coronavirus pandemic. The mechanism of action for this medicine suggests that Chloroquine acts as a ‘carrier’ for zinc as transport shuttle through the host cell membranes. In other words, the drug acts to increase the efficacy of zinc by making it available to the cell. The increasing presence of intracellular zinc has been shown to disrupt the virus effort in separating blood hemoglobin components from the ‘toxic iron’ (heme) and the proteins (globulin) in the cell, which it requires. The zinc-iron milieu renders the transcription and replication of viral RNA ineffective, eliminating the opportunity for the virus to survive. See the reference provided below

Since Chloroquine has been used for the treatment of Malaria, it has a well-known track record and safety guideline, with a well-known side effect profile. It may be the right candidate to become a front line defense on the war against coronavirus.

Let us hope that this will be the beginning of the end for this pandemic. Best health to you, my readers. (Please keep washing your hands).

Greg

Reference

(12 Mar. 2020). Topic: Chloroquine & Zinc Combo Are Being Studied as Possible Treatment @ AskWoody. Retrieved from https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/chloroquine-zinc-treatment-combo/

Youtube Video: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIymfznD7YA

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