COVID-19 UPDATE

So, What’s the Big Deal?

I have heard this question for weeks now due to the disruption of our daily lives by the intrusion of the Coronavirus Pandemic. As of March 24, the deaths in the USA from the flu was 51,087 and the Coronavirus 544. Many, understandably, want to know why there are so many are worried about Coronavirus if the number is so small. Let’s try to clarify.

Each infectious entity differs by its virulence, that is the ability to get you sick. Some are strong and others not. Tuberculosis and HIV are not very strong, so you need a large amount of “bugs” (or inoculum) to get you sick. The Bubonic Plague is the strongest known. Just one Yersinia pestis bacillum is needed to get a person sick. To put it into perspective, Coronavirus is almost 10 times stronger than the flu.

The flu has an incubation period of 3-5 days and Coronavirus 5-14 days. Incubation is from when you come in contact (become infected) with the virus till the time you get sick. For each virus, a person may start shedding the virus and infecting others about 12 hours after first coming in contact the virus. However, after about a day, the person with the flu is out of circulation because he or she is sick. The person infected with Coronavirus may continue to spread the virus for another 12 days.

Viruses are very small organisms that contain tiny amounts of genetic material either DNA or RNA. This material is attached to protective protein material and both together are called a nucleocapsid. This is surrounded by a shell called the membrane which protects the nucleocapsid. Sticking out of the membrane are spikes that the virus uses to attach to a cell in our body. Coronavirus spikes have a high affinity for something called ACE-2 receptors in our body. We have a very high amount of these receptors in our lungs, hence pneumonia. Antiviral medications typically are designed to attack one of these structures. Once the virus attaches to the cell, the membranes fuse together with the cell membrane and the nucleocapsid enters the cell and the viral genetic material takes over at some point.

We have two different immune systems: innate and acquired or adaptive immune system. The latter system is the one responsible for the production of antibodies. In terms of evolution, this is a very effective and stunning system, but very slow. It takes about 3 weeks to start to produce antibodies (the key cofactor for antibodies to be effective is Vitamin C). If someone sneezes on you, you do not have 3 weeks. The other system is the innate system which is based on the shape or pattern of the “bug”. This is activated within 8-10 minutes from exposure. A key cofactor in critical resolution of the infection is Vitamin D. If you do not have enough Vit D, you cannot destroy the virus.

During these times, we believe that everyone should be supplementing with at least 5,000 IU/d of Vit D daily and 1,000 mg of Vit C. If, unfortunately, one becomes ill, you should increase that to 10,000 IU/d for 5 days, then down to 5,000 IU/d.

Clinically: 81% have mild or not symptoms at all
14% are severe
5% become critical and of these 7% die.

Clinical features: Fever……………………………………. 99%
Fatigue…………………………………. 70%
Dry cough…………………………….. 59%
Anorexia (loss of appetite)……. 40%
Myalgias (muscle aches)……….. 35%
Dyspnea (shortness of breath). 31 %
Productive cough…………………… 27 %

Less common are headache, sore throat and a runny nose.

Recovery is typically 2-6 weeks, depending on the age and health of the individual. It has been shown that the drug Hydroxychloroquine blocks the Coronavirus spike apparatus so it cannot attach to the cell. This was just approved by the FDA on March 19 for treatment. One study showed it reduced the sick time from 20 down to 6 days. Another drug is Camostat which stops the virus from entering the cell (by interfering with the fusion of membranes).

The only entry into our body is through the mouth, nose or eyes. So, cover up.

The virus can last hours and even days on dry surfaces and clothing. It is killed in 3 seconds with 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers are excellent. When washing hands, one needs to wash for 20 seconds.

If we do what the President and the Coronavirus task force suggest, this can be over soon. If there is strict isolation, this is all over in 2-3 weeks. The problem is, not everyone is listening. Of theoretical concern, is the fact that two of the antibodies that our body makes against the Coronavirus can cross react with our myelin. This is the protective insulation layer around our nerves. Antibodies against myelin are a cause of multiple sclerosis. This has been the subject of current clinical research.

Of note, the Coronavirus is the fourth pathogen to escape from the Wuhan research facility in China. A previous problem was SARS (2002).

Preventive actions and nutrition

Avoid dry air environment and drink a lot of water (2 Liters/d). Dry mucus membranes become thin and fragile and can allow millions of viruses (large inoculum) to invade your body and overwhelm the immune system. It is much easier to defend against viruses with a moist, thick respiratory mucus membrane.

Good nutrition with an anti-inflammatory dietary regimen: fresh fruit and vegetables. Steamed or boiled fowl or meat. Avoid all sweets and unsprouted grains.

Take also:

High dose multivitamin and mineral supplement
Vitamin A, at least 25,000 IU/Day
Vitamin D, 5,000 IU/D (blood level 80-100)
Vitamin C 1-2 grams/Day

Get good sleep.

Advanced Information

The system we use to bring air from the outside to the inside is the respiratory system. At the end of the respiratory system are the air sacs, or alveoli. By the time the air reaches the alveoli it is near or at body temperature. The lining of the system is called mucus membranes. The mouth leads to the oropharynx which is eventually divided into the “food pipe” (esophagus) and “wind pipe” (trachea). The trachea subdivides into bronchioles which get narrower and narrower till they end in the alveoli. The mucus membranes in the bronchi secrete water, mucus, secretory antibodies and other substances that help resist infection. In addition, the nasal and paranasal sinuses have NO (nitric oxide) which helps prevent infection. The mucus membranes contain a large number of white blood cells called macrophages. These are big cells gobble up debris (from pollution, dust cigarette smoke…) and infectious elements (bacteria, viruses…). Once inside the macrophage, small bubble like structures that resemble seltzer bubbles, collect and form a big bubble around the infectious entity. The bubbles are called lysosomes and contain some of the post powerful digestive enzymes known on the planet. These enzymes can pretty much digest any organic material. These enzymes must be activated to execute digestion, and a key cofactor is Vit D. If you do not have enough Vitamin D, you cannot effectively digest the “bug”.

The hairs in the nostrils strain most of the large particles in the air and prevent them from getting to the deep recesses of the lungs. Particles, including viruses, that do get by, typically get stuck in the mucus of the membranes and are trapped. (The bronchiole system is a twisting system of “pipes” so the particles typically will hit the wall when traveling inside). The particles that get past the tonsils and adenoids (large collections of lymph tissue to destroy “bugs”) get stuck in the mucus and are moved upwards towards the adenoids for destruction, or to be coughed up. The movement upwards is done by small hairs called cilia. These little hairs that beat in a coordinated fashion at a frequency of ~1,500 cycles per minute and are capable of moving particles away from the lungs at a rate of at least 16 mm/min! Any particle that reaches the alveoli are ingested by the macrophages. If this elaborate system breaks down, infectious disease is likely.

To reduce the risk of getting sick from bacteria or viruses there are several things we can do, some previously stated.

Avoid dry air. Use a humidifier, if needed, and drink a lot of water. Dry fragile mucus membranes can crack and breach the defenses to allow viruses in.

Do no smoke cigarettes. The smoke inactivates the cilia so particles are not moved away from the inner lung.

Good nutrition with an anti-inflammatory dietary regimen: fresh fruit and vegetables. An anti-inflammatory diet increases the Nitric Oxide, which is needed to fight infection.

Steamed or boiled fowl or meat. Avoid all sweets and unsprouted grains. Sweets, and high glycemic grains, increase your insulin which is ok, unless it is too elevated and then it can be very detrimental for your immune system.

Get good sleep.

Take also:

High dose multivitamin and mineral supplement
Vitamin A, at least 25,000 IU/Day
Vitamin D, 5,000 IU/D (blood level 80-100)
Vitamin C 1-2 grams/Day
L-Arginine, 2-6 grams a day. (Increases your Nitric Oxide)

Please be sure to take the “good” supplements and vitamins. Many of the “good brands” will state that their products have been independently validated for purity and quality. Make sure you read that; otherwise, consider avoiding it. As we all have learned recently, 90% of all prescription drugs and 95% of over the counter supplements and vitamins ALL are made in China. The FDA recently stated that so many medicines and supplements are coming into the country from China that they cannot keep up with checking the products. Not very reassuring.

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