- October 2020
- The “Indian Times” Journal: Gargling With Liquid Mask Breaks the Chain of Infection
- 10 Vital COVID Prevention Lessons – For Today
- Iodine Can Cure & Prevent COVID-19, Say Top Researchers
- The Remarkable Discovery, History and Life of Iodine
- Iodine - Can It Prevent COVID-19? Strong Evidence Says "Yes!"
- Preventing COVID-19: Medical Pundits Have It Wrong
- November 2019
Preventing COVID-19: Medical Pundits Have It Wrong
Oct 05, 2020
Two Roads Diverged in a Wood….
There are two quite divergent pathways to deal with infectious diseases.
The first path – the way of treatment – seeks to cure the patient and prevent transmission of the disease to others.
The second path is the way of prevention: what can we do to keep the patient from getting sick in the first place.
The first path is the principal province and operative mode of modern medicine. People get sick, and modern medicine, with its extensive pharmacopeia and hospital /office machinery, provides interventions ranging from drugs to equipment, procedures to hospitalization in an attempt to cure them.
Let’s look at the second path, the path of prevention.
Just as there are numerous techniques, methods and even pharmaceutical preventatives for infectious diseases (ranging from vaccines to metabolism altering drugs to other more drastic surgical and behavioral interventions), the core concept is enshrined in the current version of the Hippocratic Oath, the essential framework for all physicians’ practices:
“I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.”
I contend that we – the modern medical establishment – has done little, woefully little, to prevent people from acquiring COVID-19, and even less to create the environments to forestall its transmission. Here are the key points of this argument.
POINT #1: NUTRITION. Nutrition is a central element of preventive medicine. This is not simply a matter of “you are what you eat,” as true as that old saw might be. The conditions (and eventually, the diseases) of nutritional failure, poor nutritional choices, predispose us to illness – if only because they disable our immune systems. You needn’t be either scholar or medical researcher to know that people who have “underlying non-infectious ‘structural’ disease conditions” like heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and kidney disease are more prone to contract COVID-19 – and significantly more likely to die from it, or suffer permanent and costly injury from the infection.
QUESTION: Have our medical pundits ever proclaimed, in writing, in private, in public: “We must counsel our patients to eat more healthfully to blunt the impact of this pandemic.” Perhaps I missed it. Yet nutritional interventions now, today, implemented immediately, could make a difference in the lives of many people suffering from poor dietary choices, and thereby setting themselves up for acquiring a serious case of COVID-19. The benefits could be rapid, and even permanent, if not simply long-lasting.
As a matter of perspective, even though it is now required for medical schools to provide 25 hours of nutritional training for physicians in medical school – nutrition being a key operational feature of prevention - studies have found that this minimal requirement is more honored in the breach. Since the average specialist/physician learns (in school and residency, and even more in private study) for 40 hours weekly over 8 years, the 25 hours of nutritional training in the ocean of 16,000 hours of standard medical fare is about 0.16% in toto. I would add that the “Father of Medicine,” Hippocrates, is quoted (perhaps apocryphally) as saying, “Let food be your medicine, and your medicine be food.”
POINT #2: THE NOSE. The vast majority of everyday observers are aware that the most likely sampling place for a COVID-19 test is the nose. There are many good reasons why this is currently the preferred location from which to derive representative samples. One key reason is that the nasopharyngeal passages and their connecting ducts are replete with ACE-2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) receptors, an interferon-stimulated gene that is a key, perhaps THE key cellular entry receptor for SARS-CoV-2 virions. (There may be others, but not, it seems for this particular virus.) And of course, the nose is readily accessible, the sampling is only slightly invasive and unpleasant, and the probability of obtaining a valid, representative sample is very high.
So if the virus resides in the nose, what is the simplest, fastest and most expedient way to reduce the viral count?
Photo Courtesy of PIxabay
The answer is: Blow Your Nose! Yes, blow it into a large, disposable tissue. Yes, don’t do it in the middle of a crowd. But the probability of dislodging, disgorging and dispatching a very significant number of viral organisms – perhaps in the millions for an infected person who hasn’t quite become sick – is an extremely high probability. Will it keep the person from becoming infected? Perhaps. For sure it will meaningfully reduce the number of disease-producing organisms – or, if they have not yet begun to replicate vigorously, it might actually prevent the onset of the disease, and give the normal, healthy human body time to mount an appropriate defense. (This timing issue is key for several other viruses, since certain of them can overwhelm the body’s natural innate and adaptive defenses and wreak terrible immune-response havoc.)
The only thing that can be said 100% for sure is that a) blowing your nose cannot hurt; and b) there’s a very good chance it can help – a lot.
In fact, simple logic will tell you that blowing your nose to potentially disgorge millions of viral organisms – or virions – is probably more effective than washing your hands, which are likely to carry an awful lot fewer dangerous microbes. You can wash your hands ‘til the cows come home, but it won’t remove virions from your nose or mouth. (Of course, if you are among those who finger their eyes, pick their noses or bite their fingernails, your hands do represent a significant transmission hazard.) In a health-care setting washing hands (and keeping nails very short) is critical to prevention of infectious disease transmission. Among ordinary everyday folks, not so much. I do not mean to denigrate handwashing, which is a meaningful contributor to general transmission prevention. We should just keep it in perspective. Faced with the choice between a box of Kleenex and a bar of soap, I’d today choose the former. At least, until I had time to use the soap. According to the most recent (March 2020) guidance from the CDC, whether a person can get COVID-19 by touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them and then touching mucus membranes is yet to be confirmed.
The lifespan of the virus outside the body is limited, and the potential volume of viral organisms on surfaces is quite small compared to the volume of organisms in saliva and nasal droplets. In short, it’s more important – probably – to blow your nose than it is to wear gloves or wash your hands constantly.
POINT #3: GARGLING. One of the key residential areas for the COVID-19 virus is the upper respiratory tract, and the various epithelial surfaces of the airways and mucus membranes. This includes the nose, mouth, and especially the salivary glands, which concentrate the receptors for the virus – the ACE2 receptors. The most effective antiseptic which rapidly disables the virus is iodine, in the form of PVPI (polyvinyl pyrrolidone iodine), which is the standard antimicrobial used routinely in every hospital, in every operating room around the world, thousands of times day. A 10x dilution of PVPI as a gargle has been shown to kill the COVID-19 virus very effectively. Around the world, dentists and oral physicians are using PVPI prior to seeing patients, in order to suppress viral transmission to healthcare workers. A daily use of PVPI gargle would significantly suppress, and perhaps even eliminate, the possibility of further disease development.
Despite this extremely inexpensive, ubiquitous and easy-to-prepare mouthwash and gargle, there is not a single medical pundit who has suggested its use to prevent transmission and infection development of COVID-19. Dozens of articles from highly experienced oral practitioners have been published, urging the use of PVPI for pre-visit gargle. Two small studies have been done, demonstrating significant efficacy.
Perhaps the problem is cost: PVPI is very cheap, and pharmaceutical companies cannot make money on it – unlike a vaccine, on which trillions of dollars will be made, and billions have already been spent.
POINT #4: THE ACE2 RECEPTOR LOCATIONS AND WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT TRANSMISSION AND TRANSMISSION PREVENTION.
THE EYES. In addition to the extensive and ubiquitous presence of ACE2 receptors in the upper respiratory tract, these entry points for the COVID-19 virus are found substantially in the eye, and in many other organs. This means that the virus can readily and quickly lodge in the eye, proliferate, and travel via the lacrimal duct of the eye into the nasopharyngeal passages. Since the eyes are exposed constantly to potential infection, there are two recommendations our medical pundits ought to make. The first: always wear some kind of eye protection as this would inhibit meaningfully the possible entry and lodging of viral particles in the eye. The second: use daily a 10:1 dilution of PVPI as eye drops in order to forestall any infection progress. The cost: less than a penny. The efficacy: tremendous.
THE INTESTINES: The ACE2 receptor is found in many tissues apart from pulmonary tissues. These include heart, kidney, skin, and intestines. In fact, ACE2 receptors are highly expressed on the inner surface of the intestines, where they perform as co-receptors for nutrient uptake and amino acid reabsorption from food. It is highly possible that a) eating food that is contaminated might transmit the virus; and b) fecal matter from infected individuals could easily transmit the virus.
What is the best guidance about avoiding disease transmission? It would be to NOT eat foods that stand a higher likelihood of contamination by COVID-19. COVID-19 will reside in a broad range of animal flesh of all kinds (in fact, it is presumed that eating animal flesh from the Wuhan wet-market in Wuhan, China originally transmitted the virus to human beings). The intestines represent a known transmission and viral development area of the body.
Therefore, it would be important to:
- AVOID meats of all kinds or COOK THEM very thoroughly before consuming. Focus on fruits and vegetables.
- WASH hands thoroughly after preparing any type of meat
- CLEAN BATHROOMS thoroughly, and several times a day with chlorine bleach spray to disinfect, since fecal matter can readily transmit the virus.
- WASH WITH MILD SOAP AND WATER all fruits and vegetables prior to eating.
Have we seen any such guidance? Not that I am aware of. Maybe I missed it.
SUMMARY: We can take inexpensive, appropriate, effective action against this virus, while simultaneously opening up the social networks that support our economy. The Medical Pundits are not thinking clearly about existing solutions, inexpensive existing solutions, to allow our country to suppress this pandemic and reinvigorate our economy – from retail stores to malls, from schools to churches.
Isn’t it time to reconsider carefully and completely the options available?
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