5 Things That Are Making The Coronavirus More Harmful

What everyone calls “the Coronavirus” is officially termed SARS-CoV-2, due to its similarity to the virus that causes “SARS”, which is called SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-1. And the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is called COVID-19. What makes this disease worse than so many other viral diseases? Several things.

1. Most infected persons are contagious before they have symptoms.

After a person is infected and before they have any major symptoms, they are still infectious. They can spread the disease without knowing it, as they have no symptoms. And this period of time when the individual is an “asymptomatic carrier” of the disease is particularly long — up to 14 days or more. [1]

2. Some persons may be infectious AFTER they seem to have recovered.

SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA has been detected in stool samples from a couple of days to a couple of weeks after the virus has cleared from the lungs and upper respiratory tract. So the ability of the disease to infect others is greater than most other diseases.

The study that found this result [2] examined patients after they were discharged from the hospital. They all met a set of criteria for discharge from the hospital, including “normal temperature lasting longer than 3 days, and resolved respiratory symptoms, as well as a negative test for the virus from throat swabs. And yet, at the point in time 5 days after discharge, they all tested positive for the virus. The study states that these patients all “had positive RT-PCR test results 5 to 13 days later. These findings suggest that at least a proportion of recovered patients still may be virus carriers.” [2]

This study was published in JAMA, Feb. 27th, and it has not received any significant attention from the press.

3. The virus fends off our immune system, in multiple ways:

The Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is spherical in shape with Spike proteins sticking out in all directions. The head of the Spike is furthest from the viral membrane, and has three sections to it. Ordinarily, proteins on the outside of a virus would be prime targets for the immune system to recognize as foreign and attack. But these Spike proteins are decorated with sugar moieties (oligosaccharides covalently bonded to the protein) all around it, to fend off our immune system.

Once the virus infects a cell, it begins to make various proteins, including three virulence factors.”There are three coronavirus virulence factors — Nsp1, Nsp3c and ORF7a — related to interfering [with the] host’s innate immunity and assisting coronavirus immune escape. [3]” So this virus has specific genes for keeps our immune system at bay.

4. SARS-CoV-2 does not only infect the cells of the lungs. It also infects cells in the intestines [4].

“In summary, we have found that patients with COVID-19 are prone to digestive symptoms and nearly half report a digestive symptom as their chief complaint. In rare instances, patient can even present with digestive symptoms in the absence of respiratory symptoms. Compared to COVID-19 patients without digestive symptoms, those with digestive symptoms have a longer time from onset to admission and a worse clinical outcome.” [4]

Symptoms are not necessarily respiratory. Gastro-intestinal symptoms may also indicate COVID-19.

5. The medical establishment has not settled on an effective treatment.

The report by physicians in France that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin work well together to treat COVID-19 has not been widely accepted. The study found:

“At day6 post-inclusion, 100% of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin combination were virologically cured comparing with 57.1% in patients treated with hydroxy-chloroquine only, and 12.5% in the control group (p<0.001). [5]"

The results were highly statistically significant at p-value less than 0.001. Unlike other medications, this dual-drug approach took only 6 days for patients to be free of the virus in their respiratory tract.

“We show here that hydroxychloroquine is efficient in clearing viral nasopharyngeal carriage of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients in only three to six days, in most patients. A significant difference was observed between hydroxychloroquine-treated patients and controls starting even on day3 post-inclusion. These results are of great importance because a recent paper has shown that the mean duration of viral shedding in patients suffering from COVID-19 in China was 20 days (even 37 days for the longest duration) [5]”

There is a RCT trial underway at Colombia University, to test this treatment with more patients and a more rigorous study design. In the meantime, physicians should reconsider the unofficial “standard” treatment of lopinavir with ritonavir. In “a randomized, controlled, open-label trial involving hospitalized adult patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection,” treatment of the patients with lopinavir and ritonavir was unsuccessful. “In hospitalized adult patients with severe Covid-19, no benefit was observed with lopinavir-ritonavir treatment beyond standard care.” [6]”

Mass media outlets have been downplaying the French study [5], and giving airtime to anything and everything said to possibly treat the disease. This is not helpful.

Ronald L Conte Jr

[1] Aguilar, Jacob B., and Juan B. Gutierrez. “Investigating the Impact of Asymptomatic Carriers on COVID-19 Transmission.” medRxiv (2020).

Click to access 2020.03.18.20037994.full.pdf

[2] Lan, Lan, et al. “Positive RT-PCR test results in patients recovered from COVID-19.” Jama (2020).

[3] Wu C, et al., “Analysis of therapeutic targets for SARS-CoV-2 and discovery of potential drugs by computational methods”, Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B.

[4] Lei Pan, et al., on behalf of Wuhan Medical Treatment Expert Group for COVID-19, “Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients with digestive symptoms in Hubei, China: a descriptive, cross-sectional, multicenter study.” American Journal of Gastroenterology. March 2020 – Volume 115 – Issue 3.

Click to access COVID_Digestive_Symptoms_AJG_Preproof.pdf

[5] Gautret (2020) Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19

Click to access Hydroxychloroquine_final_DOI_IJAA.pdf

[6] Cao, Bin, et al. “A trial of lopinavir-ritonavir in adults hospitalized with severe Covid-19.” New England Journal of Medicine (2020).

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4 Responses to 5 Things That Are Making The Coronavirus More Harmful

  1. A says:

    I think point three supports the view that this virus was genetically engineered.

  2. Thomas Mazanec says:

    According to this canon lawyer, Bishops are not allowed to cancel public Masses because of Covid-19.

    • Ron Conte says:

      The Pope and the Bishops are the successors to the Apostles. They have the authority of Christ over the entire Church on earth. The Bishops have the authority to cancel Mass, to tell priests to self-quarantine, and to give any of a variety of different orders. A Bishops’ Conference can issue a decision on this subject, but if an individual Bishop disagrees, he can act according to his own judgment in his own diocese. In so far as any Bishop decides to follow the decision of the Conference, the decision is lawful and binding. It comes down to what the local ordinary decides. But the Bishops have chosen to work together in Conferences, as established by the Church.

      The canon lawyer who wrote that piece is substituting her own judgment and arguments for Church authority. There’s a lot of that going around these days. What happened to obedience? Also, that piece incorrectly claims that the Church has always required attendance at Sunday Mass. Not so. For hundreds of years Mass was not an obligation. Keep holy the Sabbath and worship God is required; attendance at Mass can be required or dispensed by Church authority. And you do not need a grave reason to decline to attend Mass, only a just reason. You don’t need to be gravely ill and unable to get out of bed; you only need to have a cold or the flu (or worse). Given that one only needs a just reason not to attend Mass, even a young healthy person has more than a just reason in avoiding Mass so as to avoid contracting the Coronavirus. It kills even the young and healthy. Even those it does not kill suffer greatly, and they risk passing on the disease to an elderly person who might die. You are not required to “heroically” risk your life or someone else’s life to attend Mass. In addition, person who seem to be healthy may be asymptomatic carriers, who if they went to Mass would unknowingly pass on the disease to someone who might die. This includes priests who might unknowingly be carriers, or who might contract the disease and die.

      So the Bishops are within their authority and are acting according to both faith and reason by cancelling Mass and instructing priests to self-quarantine.

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