For the past 5 months, people all over the world have been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has affected our lives in many ways. As COVID-19 spreads rapidly and the number of cases increase daily (until this pandemic is under control) what are we doing to help ourselves to reduce our own chances of getting sick or to lessen its severity? It has been a hard and scary time for many people as we try to get this “invisible enemy” under control.
Researchers from Cambridge University, Uk and Germany presented by Dr. Peter Foster, have studied COVID-19 the genetic genome and discovered that the new COVID-19 (or SARS-Cov-2) had mutated into basically 3 strains: A, B and C. Studies show that from these strains other mutations have occurred (findings have been published in studies in China and Germany). Each of these 3 strains can present different symptoms.
Strain A: was discovered in the Wuhan wet market which is very similar to the corona virus found in bats and Pangolin but has now transferred to humans. However, this was not the main strain that was prevalent in the infected population in Wuhan China. Strain A had already mutated into strain B. However, it was found in people with the virus in Australia and in Americans living in Wuhan at the time.
Strain B: This is the strain that affected most of Wuhan and the rest of China plus eastern Asia and some part of Europe (Germany, UK, France, Netherlands and Belgium).
Strain C: a mutation of the B strain and is now the most prevalent and aggressive strain, affecting most of the European countries and parts of Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea). This strain is not found in China. It is now active mainly in the eastern part of the United States. The western coast strain A is more prevalent not Strain B that was prevalent in Wuhan, China. Most of the COVID-19 in Latin America came from Europe. In Brazil, the first case came from a traveler that returned from Italy.
How is COVID -19 different from the flu and how does it affect our immunity?
We have our own defense system – the immune system that protects us from pathogens, viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungal infections and rogue cells or cancer cells. Viruses are good in bypassing the immune system so that they can invade, spread and take over. Our immune system is very efficient as well and has adapted to recognize these viruses and destroy them. If the immune system is functioning properly. Scientists are currently researching how the immune system reacts to this new virus.
What makes the COVID-19 different? Since it is a new virus we do not have immunity to it like for example the flu. It is also far more contagious. The COVID-19 virus seems to effectively attach itself to our cells, especially to the cells in the lungs and spreads from there all over the body. There is more research needed on how and why COVID-19 weakens and bypasses the immune system to a point that it takes over especially immune compromised individuals.
In Brazil, they have done non-invasive autopsies using x-rays, ultrasound and scans on 15 people (ages 33 to 83) that have died from COVID-19 in order to understand how the virus affects the body and find ways to help those affected and still alive today. What they found is how aggressive the virus was and the extensive damage it does to the lungs, kidneys, liver and spleen. They also found a lot of muscular inflammation, which would explain the severe pain. COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system particularly hard and 80% of these autopsies show that they victims had blood clots in their lungs which blocks the blood flow. Researchers and the medical community need to find ways to counter this serious complication to help save lives.
The next area they are researching is how and where the virus hides within the body? So far it can hide basically anywhere in the body. In men, one place it seems to hide is in the testicles, causing pain and possible tissue damage to the male reproductive organs. More research is being done but with no results yet.
Since COVID-19 is affecting the lives of so many people today we started a series on this topic providing the latest research based on facts. Part 2 in this series will be on how Vitamin D can play an important role in reducing the risk with COVID-19. Stay tuned …