Coronavirus COVID-19, belongs to a family of RNA viruses and generally cause, mild respiratory infection and/or disease which spreads by human to human contact. In 2002, coronavirus, SARS appeared, and was the first coronavirus which caused serious respiratory disease and was capable of spreading quickly in humans. Subsequent to SARS, the MERS coronavirus appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, causing severe respiratory disease and transmission similar to SARS. The current strain of coronavirus which emerged in 2019, is a unique coronavirus named COVID-19, the deadliest strain to date, which was identified in the course of an outbreak investigation in Wuhan, China.
Epidemiologists have identified 7 types of coronavirus, which are acknowledged to infect humans. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, MERS and SARS, were thought to be the only type of coronaviruses to cause serious respiratory disease.
The transmission of COVID-19 is mainly thought to spread via human-to-human contact. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that the virus can spread within 6 feet of an infected person. It can also spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes within close proximity of another person.
Most viruses are contagious when the infected person’s symptoms are present (symptomatic). However, with COVID-19, transmission of the disease has occurred before an infected person had any symptoms. Additionally, COVID-19 may spread from touching contaminated objects or surfaces. The CDC has specified that people do not touch their eyes, mouth or nose without first washing their hands if they have been outside their home.
The ease of how a virus spreads human-to-human can differ greatly. One type of transmission known as the Community Spread, indicates that the virus has spread throughout a geographic area quickly and easily. The COVID-19 virus appears to have the community spread characteristics in multiple areas of the world.
Symptoms of those infected with COVID-19, usually begin within 2-14 days after exposure to an infected person. The most common symptoms are similar to the flu, which includes cough, fever, shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing. The total illness severity for COVID-19 is still unknown and continues to be evaluated. Those infected with the illness who have sought treatment have shown a wide range of symptoms from mild flu to death. Based on the reported cases in China, the most serious illness results in 16% of those infected. People with compromised immunity, advanced age, and serious underlying health issues are most at risk.
The most current information provided by the National Institute of Health has revealed that COVID-19 airborne particles from an infected person can stay in the air for several hours, while remaining active on surfaces for several days. Data regarding the viability of Coronavirus COVID-19 on various surfaces was investigated under laboratory conditions.
Coronavirus COVID-19 can remain active and viable for:
As of today, there is no vaccine for coronavirus COVID-19. However, there are a number of things that can be done to boost your immune system and there are nutraceuticals and drugs that can lessen inflammation from viruses that cause respiratory issues.
According to the guidelines set forth by the CDC, the prevention protocol for this virus is similar to the preventative measures which are used in the spread or respiratory disease and/or illness, and include:
If you have read or watched the news, you have probably heard the term “Social Distancing,” many times. Social distancing measures are a preventative action used by Public Health agencies in order to reduce the spread of an extremely contagious disease such as COVID-19.
Social distancing measures are invoked to slow down the spread of an infectious disease by restricting public gatherings, cancelling and/or suspending events, and closing or restricting access to buildings and businesses.
Health officials have urged the public to practice social distancing in order to avoid the spread of COVID-19, which includes:
According to U.S. health officials, 2 percent of reported coronavirus COVID-19 cases have resulted in death. This figure is significantly lower than deaths from the outbreak of SARS which was 10 percent of people infected. Epidemiologists are still evaluating how deadly COVID-19 really is. One of the main difficulties in making this determination is mainly due to the fact that mild cases of the illness are often not reported and only serious cases have been used in the statistics.
In severe cases of coronavirus COVID-19, it has been reported that some patients suffered multiple organ breakdown, pneumonia of both lungs and even death.
When coronavirus COVID-19 first began appearing around the world, medical professionals categorized the highest risk category in the following groups:
In February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO), reviewed China’s reported coronavirus cases and discovered that almost 80% of those infected were between the ages of 30 and 69.
The Chinese CDC provided the following fatality rates amongst its population as of late February 2020:
The risk of death that is correlated with age, is thought to be dependent on the health of the respiratory system. Generally, about half of those infected with COVID-19, develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a condition that causes an accumulation of excess fluid in the small air sacs of the lungs. As a result, the amount of air that can be taken in by the lungs is compromised, thereby diminishing the amount of oxygen necessary for many vital organs, which can result in death. About 50% of infected patients who develop ARDS die, while the fatality rate is less than 10% for non-ARDS infected patients.
On March, 16, 2020, infectious disease researchers from the University of Texas, reported that the amount of time that passes during transmission of the virus is less than a week. Moreover, about 10% of patients were infected by a person who was asymptomatic (showed no symptoms).
The in an effort to slow down the global outbreak of COVID-19, the CDC has designated countries that continue to show widespread transmission of the virus, as level 3 Travel Health Notice. If you have travelled from a level 3 country, you will be asked to remain in your home as a self-quarantine measure for a period of 14 days.
Current countries that have a Level 3 Travel Health Notice status include:
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the internet has become littered with false and incomplete information regarding natural cures, vitamins and minerals, supplements and food that can prevent and even cure COVID-19. These claims are bogus as there is absolutely no cure or even treatment available specifically for COVID-19 as of today.
Many of the alleged cures that can be found on the web and on social media posts are actually dangerous. For example, the vitamin and/or mineral suggestions are very high doses that may result in doing more harm than good, especially in people with underlying health conditions.
Some of the serious side effects that can result from high doses of vitamins and minerals include:
However, there are certain drugs and supplements that are an exception and while they will not cure or protect you from getting COVID-19, they will significantly improve your immune system. In the event that you contract the virus, improved immunity will not only reduce the severity of the virus, but also help you recover quicker.
If you are thinking about taking a supplement, vitamin D is probably the best choice you can make. There a considerable body of research showing that vitamin D provides benefits for the immune system in order to help battle viruses. Vitamin D deficiency, is very common and affects a major part of our population today. Regular daily exposure to the sun, can provide you with the necessary amount of vitamin D. However, during the winter months, there is less daylight and people are less likely to be outside more than they have to. In today’s world, people spend more time indoors so supplementing with vitamin D is a convenient way to ensure that you are not deficient.
Another way in maintaining good health is get enough sleep. During sleep, is when the most important recovery and repair of your body and immune system occurs. An abundant amount of evidence-based research recommends that for optimal body function, you need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Research also shows that a single night of bad sleep can impair immune cells by almost 70%.
NAC is the acetylated alternative form of the amino acid cysteine and is responsible for the production of antioxidants. Taking cysteine and NAC together is vital for generating higher levels of glutathione, the body’s most important and powerful amino acid and antioxidant.
Research has shown that NAC can prevent the reproduction of recurrent human influenza A viruses. A 2014 study, examined the benefits of NAC on acute lung injury (ALI) caused by swine influenza virus (H9N2) in mice. The mice that were given NAC, showed a significant reduction in microphages, MPO activity, neutrophils, pulmonary edema and pulmonary inflammation. Furthermore, the study data revealed that TLR4 protein and TLR4 mRNA levels in the lungs were reduced considerably. The research findings indicate that NAC is a possible supplementary treatment alternative which may be used in the event of an influenza A virus pandemic.
An earlier study conducted in 2011, examined whether NAC could lessen inflammatory effect severity of several different viruses on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More than half of all COPD exacerbations, result from respiratory infections such as strain A and B influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The exacerbations have a negatively affect airway epithelium, quickly elevate inflammation and certain apoptosis, and produce mucins from epithelial cells, which are related to the decline of the patient’s health throughout the progression of the disease.
NAC, was shown to be effective in controlling COPD symptoms, particularly exacerbations as well as the decline in accelerated lung function. Moreover, the study showed that NAC was able to stall replication of influenza virus and lessened apoptotic and inflammatory factors throughout viral infection. Three viruses were used in the study, and NAC was shown to be effective in preventing the replication of all of them.
Doctors and scientists all over the world are working frantically trying to find a viable treatment and/or vaccine in hopes of eradicating or at least slowing down the spread of COVID-19. As of March 2020, there are more than 80 clinical trials underway examining potential effective treatments for COVID-19. New clinical trials are being added daily as the coronavirus outbreak shows no signs of slowing down. A wide range of available drugs are being combined with together to see if any combination could be used as treatment. The pharmacology of medicines that are being tested ranges from unsuccessful ebola preparations to repurposed flu medicine, and even older drugs used in the treatment of malaria. Below are some of the current drugs being tested against COVID-19.
An antiviral drug, named Favipiravir, which is also marketed as Avigan, was developed in Japan for the treatment of influenza. In February 2020, Favipiravir was given approval to be used in clinical trials for treating COVID-19 infections.
As of March 2020, Favipiravir has been used in Wuhan, China as an experimental treatment and has shown encouraging results in treating minor to medium cases of COVID-19. Favipiravir has also been shown to be very safe. Favipiravir controls the replication of some viruses, and has been shown to reduce the extent of the virus, as well as increase lung recovery.
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (a derivative form of chloroquine) were originally used in treating lupus, malaria and rheumatoid arthritis. Today, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are being used as experimental treatment for COVID-19, based on very early stages of research examining how human and primate cells react to the drugs.
Chloroquine was studied in 2005, after an outbreak of SARS cases, which occurred in 2002. SARS, which is comparatively similar to COVID-19, can cause severe acute respiratory syndrome. In the 2005 study, chloroquine was shown to suppress the SARS virus from entering and replicating in human cells.
In February 2020, preliminary COVID-19 cell culture studies, showed that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine suppressed replication of COVID-19 similarly the SARS virus. As of the end of February 2020, there was seven new clinical trials for hydroxychloroquine, that are scheduled to begin in China.
A brief study was conducted in Marseille, France during the early part of March 2020. The study revealed that hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin made significant difference in reducing the viral load of patients infected with coronavirus COVID-19.
The participants (patients) of the study were given a dose of 600mg of hydroxychloroquine and each day. Each day the participants also had their viral load tested via nasopharyngeal swabs. Azithromycin was also added, but only for patients who exhibited a more significant viral load. The control group, consisted of patients in a different hospital, who had refused the study treatment protocol. The end point of the study was based upon whether the virus was absent or present in the subject on the 6th day after treatment was initiated.
The patients who tested positive for COVID-19, exhibited the following symptoms:
Approximately 20 patients were given the treatment protocol and exhibited a considerable decline in viral load at the 6th day of treatment when compared with the control group. When azithromycin was supplemented in addition to hydroxychloroquine, viral load elimination was remarkably better than hydroxychloroquine alone.
Despite the low sample size of the study, the results demonstrate that while hydroxychloroquine is effective in reducing viral load of COVID-19, the addition of azithromycin bolsters hydroxychloroquine’s effects.