• Dr. Frank Akawi

Understanding the Corona Virus!

Updated: May 10

Viruses have spent billions of years perfecting the art of surviving without living or being alive, a frighteningly effective strategy that makes them a potent threat in today’s world.  There is a certain evil genius and sneakiness to how this coronavirus pathogen works: It finds easy victims in humans without them knowing. Before its first host even develops symptoms, it is already spreading its replicas everywhere, moving onto its next victim. It is powerfully deadly in some but mild enough in others to escape containment. And for now, we have no way of stopping it.

This new corona virus, SARS-CoV-2, adeptly cuts the difference. It dwells in the upper respiratory tract, where it is easily sneezed or coughed onto its next victim. But in some patients, it can lodge itself deep within the lungs, where the disease can kill. That combination gives it the contagiousness of some colds, along with some of the lethality of its close molecular cousin SARS, which caused a 2002-2003 outbreak in Asia and MERS in the Middle east.

Another insidious characteristic of this virus: By giving up that bit of lethality, its symptoms emerge less readily than those of SARS, which means people often pass it to others before they even know they have it.  This is why it is important to use a mask and avoid touching the T-Zone (both eyes and the mouth and nose area). Typically, by using the Mask we cover the vulnerable T-zone area. An important transient area for the virus after reaching the victims nose or mouth is the pharyngeal area and tonsil area. This is why drinking a lot of water and warm fluids can flush the virus into the Stomach area where it can't survive the PH of the stomach Juices.  Also drinking warm green teas and flushing the upper airways with net pots helps.


The bottom line is to protect yourself and preventing the virus from entering the upper airways in the first place.


*We can do that by wearing masks outside and covering the eyes with glasses or plastic shield.


*Wash your hands and face frequently with warm water and soap. It is important to have a clean change of clothes in the garage to change in before entering your home.


*Disinfect products before putting them away (wash fruits and vegetables in soapy water and rinse any residue.


*Spray all mail packages with 0.5% hydrogen peroxide and let packages and the mail sit in the garage, for 24 hours before you open them.lu

sh pathways with things like hot teas, net potsFlushathways with things like hot teas, net Wear a mask when outside pathways with things like hot teas,

It is, in other words, just sneaky enough to wreak worldwide havoc.  Outside a host, viruses are dormant. They have none of the traditional trappings of life: metabolism, motion, the ability to reproduce.  However, they can transfer on fomite surfaces from one person to another. The cough or sneezing particles can stay in the air for a couple of hours. And they can last this way for quite a long time. Recent laboratory research showed that, although SARS-CoV-2 typically degrades in minutes or a few hours outside a host, some particles can remain viable potentially infectious on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel for up to three days. 


When viruses encounter a host, they use proteins on their surfaces to unlock and invade its unsuspecting cells. Then they take control of those cells molecular machinery to produce and assemble the materials needed for more viruses.  It’s switching between alive and not alive.

Once inside a cell, a virus can make 10,000 copies of itself in a matter of hours. Within a few days, the infected person will carry hundreds of millions of viral particles in every teaspoon of his blood.


But viruses function through us. With no cellular machinery of their own, they become intertwined with ours. Their proteins are our proteins. Their weaknesses are our weaknesses. Most drugs that might hurt them would hurt us, too. The corona virus has affinity to the lungs in particular lung cell called pneumocyte type 2 the cell responsible for surfactant production which keeps the alveolus in the lungs inflated.  Pulmonary surfactant is a mixture of lipids and proteins which is secreted into the alveolar space by epithelial type II cells. The main function of surfactant is to lower the surface tension at the air/liquid interface within the alveoli of the lungThe spikes on the virus attach to Ace 2 receptor. Type 1 pneumocytes responsible for air exchange in the lungsThe corona virus attacks type 2 pneumocytes causing collapse of these sacs and resulting in shortness of breath. 


After the virus attach to the ACE 2 receptors it sends Messengers RNA to ribosome of the cells to start producing poly proteins using enzyme called Proteineases to make the capsid, nucleic acid and the spikes. Then it sends another simple stranded RNA message to make more simple stranded RNA using an enzyme called polymerase.  This process creates a production of large amounts of cytokines around day 10 of the virus infection, named the cytokines storm.  It is large amounts of inflammatory mediators.  The macrophages triggered by the presence of the virus produces Interlukin 1, interlukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor. These inflammatory mediators try to destroy the virus but, in the process, they end up causing damage to surrounding tissues in the lung parenchyma.  The endothelial cells around the pneumocytes become more permeable because of the damage. Fluid rushes in from the plasma into the alveoulus which also dilutes the amount of surfactant which its job to decrease the surface tension and keep the alveolus open. Cells collapse and patients will require a ventilator and oxygen. 

Also neutrophils (inflammatory cells) get attracted  to fight the virus and produce Reactive oxygen species and proteases to kill the virus. It may kill few virus cells but it will destroy more of the lung cells too.  These cytokines effect can also extends into other organs like the heart cells causing increase in permeability and decrease in function. 


Interview with Dr. Akawi Part two







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