COVID-19 Immune System Supplement Support
Due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation constantly evolving, we are updating this page regularly.
What is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that get their name from a halo or “corona” that circle the virus. This halo can be seen surrounding the virus using an electron microscope.
They are Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) viruses, a type of genetic material that cause different diseases in mammals and birds. Some viruses are zoonotic, jumping from another species like an animal or bat, to a human host.
The more famous and deadly RNA viruses are Polio, Measles, Ebola, West Nile fever, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Hepatitis C and E, Influenza (known as the flu) and the common cold.
The latest coronavirus is Coronavirus disease 2019, called COVID-19 or SARS-CoV02. It’s first confirmed case is suspected to be in the Fall of 2019 in Wuhan, China, with a possibility of the virus being around even earlier. https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/42669767/Satellite_Images_Baidu_COVID19_manuscript_DASH.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y
Where did COVID-19 originate from?
Most scientists believe that COVID-19 came from a bat, as COVID-19’s closest similar virus is a bat virus which shares roughly 96% of it’s makeup. There is speculation if COVID-19 was released by accident from a lab in Wuhan, China that specializes in these types of viruses, or if it jumped from bats to humans in the form of protein sold as food to humans in the Wuhan “wet-markets” where such delicacies are sold.
How does COVID-19 attack human cells?
The virus has spikes that attach themselves to a protein on the surface of our cells, called ACE2. When this coronavirus attaches to the outer membrane, it changes it so that the virus and membrane fuse together, allowinging the virus’s RNA to get into the cell.
It then takes over the cell’s protein making factory, changing the instructions so it begins making new copies of itself. It does this quickly, as within a few hours it can make thousands of copies, which go on to infect nearby healthy cells.
How does the human body fight back against COVID-19?
The standard immune response is that the body’s temperature begins to rise in an effort to destroy the virus. The body begins to produce more white blood cells, existing white blood cells begin to hunt down, consume and destroy cells that have been infected, they create toxic chemicals and cytokines that prevent the virus from replicating.
However the body’s response can be part of the problem if the fever created to destroy the virus cooks the body’s own proteins. Too much production of cytokines can lead to hyper-inflammation which is extremely detrimental to the body.
Why are people having so many problems with this virus?
There is a race between the body and how quickly it can defend itself and how quickly the virus can damage it. If the initial dose of the virus is mild, in the upper respiratory area and the person is healthy with no other health issues, the body seems to do a good job of repelling the virus.
However, if the virus makes it to the lower respiratory tract, namely the lungs, it can lead to bronchitis or pneumonia. If the lungs cannot process oxygen properly, the patient may be forced to be put on a ventilator. This lack of oxygen is extremely detrimental to the patient, leading to a weakened body and possible secondary infections. Also, there is a possibility of an immune response, nick-named “cytokine storm”, that leads to hyper-inflammation, with the body attacking its own cells, tissues and organs in an effort to fight the virus. Cytokines can initiate cell death. When a lot of cytokines attack lung tissue, this can lead to pneumonia and blood that lacks oxygen. This is why people with asthma should take extra precautions to make sure they don't catch COVID-19.The aforementioned cytokine attacks are being countered with drugs that block the cytokine IL-6 receptor. One such drug that has been used is Actemra, a rheumatoid arthritis drug. In this case, it “disabled (the patient’s) inflammatory response by blocking specific cytokines called interleukin-6 or IL-6”.
What are the stages and symptoms of COVID-19?
There are three stages with multiple symptoms.
Stage I is the early infection stage, which usually runs for five days after catching the virus. Symptoms can be asymptomatic (meaning you really don’t exhibit and symptoms) or you have a fever and other mild symptoms like aches, pains or a cough.
Stage II, which is known as the pulmonary phase usually occurs during the sixth day to the tenth. Symptoms are shortness of breath, or low oxygen in the blood. This low blood oxygen is called hypoxemia and can be measured with a pulse oximeter (pulse ox) that is relatively inexpensive and sold at local drug stores or on Amazon.com, but x-rays and CT scans by your doctor will determine if there is fluid build-up in the lungs.
The body’s normal immune response decreases and the dangerous inflammatory response that we discussed earlier increases. This stage is broken into two parts, designated A and B to determine if the body is more in the viral stage or moving towards the inflammatory stage.
Stage III is where the body immune system is in a hyperinflammation phase.
This usually occurs around day ten. Symptoms are acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a build-up of fluid in the lungs, which have the following signs: Shortness of breath, rapid and shallow breathing, high pulse, phlegm while coughing, extremities like fingertips, or lips or even skin turning blue due to lack of oxygen, fatigue, fever, confusion, change in blood pressure, chest pain or a crackling sound in the lungs.
Lack of oxygen in the blood can lead to organ failure or multiple organ failure. Other symptoms are systemic inflammatory response syndrome, shock, heart failure, kidney damage and organ failure. The lungs can be suffering from cytokine storms, which can cause respiratory failure.
How is COVID-19 Treated?At this time, scientists are developing a vaccine for COVID-19, but it's not available yet. There are certain medications that are being discussed to combat COVID-19, namely antibiotics, medicines that work to alleviate the cytokine storm and calm them down. Hydroxychloroquine, is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) that is being researched in the fight against COVID-19.
Large drug manufacturers like Swiss company Roche have recently received funds to test their drugs against COVID-19. Roche recently received $25 million from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in April of 2020 to accelerate the drug's trial.
Despite not having a vaccine, the first thing you'll need to do if you test positive is get rest. Rest will help you fight the illness. Fluids, mainly water will help you stay hydrated. If you are admitted to the hospital, they will provide you with intravenous fluids (IV) through a vein to keep you hydrated.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?It's thought to spread through respiratory droplets from person to person at this time. Scientists believe that people that are within six feet can pass the virus to each other this way. These respiratory droplets are produced when people speak, coughs or sneezes, landing in the eyes, mouth or noses or possibly inhaled into the lungs.
These droplets can spread from a person who is asymptomatic, meaning not showing any symptoms. It spreads easily from person to person.
What's the best way to prevent COVID-19 transmission?
While it's possible to become infected with COVID-19 through touching a surface with the virus, most cases occur from person to person contact.
The best ways to prevent COVID-19 is by:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially if you have been in a public space.
- Maintain six feet distance from people. Stay at least six feet away.
- Cover both your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily with bleach or a cleaner like Clorox. This includes doorknobs, doors, light switches, handles, desks, countertops, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucet handles, and sinks.
- Stay home from public gathering like work, school or other places where people congregate when you are sick.