Why Coronavirus Is Much More Scary Than Seasonal Influenza?
The COVID-19 virus has a type of genetic code sequencing called RNA and is a novel (new) virus that had, in December 2019, jumped from animals to humans. The human immune system does not recognize COVID-19 and thus humans cannot build protective immunity against it quickly.
In contrast, the influenza virus has a genetic RNA code that makes it easily recognized by the human immune system. Thus, your immune system can spring into defence action quickly. The more recently you had a bout of influenza the better your new seasonal flu immunity will be. You get immunity against the flu either by exposure to a seasonal flu virus, or by getting a flu shot.
New or Novel viruses, like COVID-19 come from animals and thankfully these viruses usually only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1). The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history and was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin and jumped to humans.
If one of these animal viruses mutates (changes its RNA or DNA) it then becomes able to transfer from animals to humans – wow, then the drama begins! This is because humans have NO natural or acquired immunity because the RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human. If the human immune system doesn’t recognize this new enemy it cannot fight it. It has become a stealth virus – scary right?
A viral mutation may only allow transfer from animal to human and it may stay this way for years. Viruses are clever and are designed to keep mutating and finally it will mutate into a form that allows transfer from human to human – now we have a new contagious phase and that’s what’s happening now with COVID-19.
The Coronavirus existed in animals only for an unknown period of time until it got its chance to mutate at an animal market, in Wuhan China, in December 2019. Unfortunately, this enabled it to jump from animals to people. Initially only animals could give it to a human but in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and achieved the ability to jump from human to human. This “slippery virus” became a stealth virus.
This COVID -19 Coronavirus had never before been a “human” virus so humans had NO natural or acquired immunity. This was a viral once in a lifetime opportunity, and it spread rapidly with no barriers. No wonder we currently have no drugs or vaccines to fight it.
COVID-19 mutated in such a way that gave it the ability to cause severe damage to human lungs.
COVID-19 is very different from seasonal influenza or H1N1 or the common cold virus in that it can rapidly destroy the air sacs in the lungs and the patient drowns in their own lung secretions. Worryingly COVID-19 has already mutated again and we now have two strains to combat – strain s, and strain L. this increases the challenge for virologists to make an effective vaccine.
What can we do? Immediate and rapid closings of public crowded places have helped in past new pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.
COVID-19 is a new enemy with a huge propensity to change its genome again so we have to deal with unpredictability.
Coronavirus prevention and fighting strategies
I encourage all people to keep their immune system strong with good nutrition, adequate rest and specific supplements. Just be smart but do not be anxious as stress will weaken your immune system.
COVID-19 virus obstructs the respiratory pathways (tract) with thick mucus that hardens and blocks the airways and air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. If we can thin the mucus and reduce the outpouring of fluid in the air sacs, we have a better chance of surviving.
Some general tips to achieve this include:
- Stay well hydrated – Drink plenty of hot/warm liquids throughout the day to keep your mouth moist and wash any of the virus that has entered your mouth into your stomach where gastric juices will neutralize it before it can get to the lungs.
- Gargle with an antiseptic in warm water – Like freshly made ozone water, apple cider vinegar, or sea salt, or fresh lemon twice daily. You can also use a 3 percent concentration of hydrogen peroxide. Mix two parts water with one-part hydrogen peroxide, gargle, swishing the solution all around the mouth, tilt the head back and continue gargling for 30 seconds. Spit the solution out.
- Be a clean freak – COVOID-19 attaches itself to clothes, gloves and hair so take a bath or a shower when you get in from the street; avoid sitting down in your house and go straight to the bathroom or shower. COVID-19 is not hard to kill and is destroyed by any detergent or soap. If you cannot wash your clothes daily, hang them in direct sunlight which also neutralizes the virus.
Clean metallic surfaces very carefully, because the virus can remain viable on these for up to nine days. Take note and be vigilant about touching pumps at gas stations, hand rails and door handles etc. and wear gloves in such places.
Wash your hands frequently, ideally every 20 minutes using any soap that foams. Do this for 30 seconds and wash your hands thoroughly.
- Good diet – Eat fresh raw and cooked fruits and vegetables; raw will bump up your vitamin C levels.
- Don’t be deficient – Don’t be low in selenium, zinc or vitamin D.
- Consider a supplement of N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) – NAC can reduce the stickiness of respiratory mucus and help you to bring it up more easily (expectorant effects). NAC also is proven to reduce biofilms that allow infections to persist.
- If you feel a sore throat coming on – Attack it immediately using the above methods. The virus enters the system this way and remains for three or four days within the throat before it passes into the lungs. Go to a designated testing centre early.
You can listen to Sandra Cabot’s podcast “Covid-19 Explained”.
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