Covid- 19 is not the first viral pandemic in the world and may not be the last. The more we can learn about viral behaviour in this current time the better.
Known as the Spanish ‘flu, the 1918 pandemic was devastating. Sweeping across country borders, 50 million worldwide were lost over the course of only two years, making it the deadliest outbreak in recorded human history. What was it about the ‘Spanish flu’, that made it so fatal? This tragic event was caused by a particularly virulent strain of the influenza A H1N1 virus. To understand why so many suffered and died we need to take a closer look at the influenza virus.
While there are four broad types of influenza (A, B, C and D), only influenza A is known to cause pandemics. Influenza A is further divided into subtypes according to the type of surface proteins, hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N), present on the virus. For example, the Fujian ‘flu H3N2 virus contains type 3 hemagglutinin and type 2 neuraminidase or the Fujian bird flu H5N1 contains 5 hemagglutinin and 1 neuraminidase.
Small mutations in the genes of influenza lead to changes in their surface proteins( Hemagglutinin and neuraminidase.) If virus changes are subtle enough, the virus will have similar antigenic ( germ ) properties. The word antigen can mean virus, bacteria, parasite or fungal infection. If someone has previously been exposed to a particular virus, their immune system will quickly and effectively respond. However, over time viruses change, which in time, transforms them into a new infection that the body may no longer recognise and cannot then fight it off like perhaps the original virus. This changing process is known as antigenic drift and explains why a person who got the ‘flu last year, may find themselves in bed with the ‘flu’ yet again. It is also why a flu vaccination may not work for all the current year’s flu infections and is out of date within a few years.
Another phenomenon, known as antigenic shift, refers to a much more dramatic and sudden change in surface proteins, leading to a new influenza subtype. This can happen when an animal strain of influenza mutates in a way that gives it the ability to infect humans. When this occurs, the surface proteins are so different from other virus’ that the majority of the population has little to no immune defence, allowing the virus to reach pandemic proportions. Which is why, in 1918 when a bird strain of influenza underwent a shift and wreaked havoc on the world’s population. This flu was named and known as the Spanish Flu.
It is so interesting when you look back in the history of pandemics and the development of medicine. Amazing points to note in medical history are firstly 1870’s Robert Loch and Loius Pasteur's establishment of the germ theory of disease. In 1935 Sulphonamide drugs, the first of antibiotics, saved lives. Antibiotics can kill both good and bad bacteria. Importantly it is worth noting antibiotics do NOT kill viruses. Post World War 2 the first of the vaccinations for Polio, Measles, Mumps and Rubella was developed. These are amazing stepping stones in the history of medicine. Two of these steps in medicine came much later in time , after the Spanish Flu in 1918.
I find vaccines a fascinating topic and happy to discuss vaccination without judgement with anyone. I encourage people to learn about each individual vaccination including excipients( the extra ingredients), live/nonlive and viral evolution rate especially as they decide for themselves/ children to have or not have a particular vaccination. I respect every individual choice on this topic and do believe we should as individuals have a choice. If and when vaccinating, clients are advised to come in to see their Naturopath on the day of the vaccination to help advise you on the right natural remedies to help your own immune system adjust and/or detoxify.
Viruses are in fact organisms like a caterpillar or animal but so much smaller. The reason viruses evolve faster than say mosquitos, snakes or caterpillars is because viruses multiply faster than any other organism. That means every new individual virus is an opportunity for new mutations ( surface protein changes) as they make a copy of their genetic material. Viruses like measles are quite stable and that’s why you can still be covered by a vaccination given when you were a child, but viruses like HIV ( 10 million new versions of this virus can be made within 24 hours) and corona viruses like MERS or SARS mutate at a much quicker rate. This is why it takes time for scientists to find the right medicines and develop vaccines. It is not a quick process. Finding one drug or medicine to fight one virus when the virus is mutating so quickly is near impossible let alone making a vaccine to combat a changing enemy.
E.coli will mutate at about 1/10th the rate of herpes and 1/1000th the rate of Sars or MERS. Some people would say that one of the reasons germs becoming speedier in evolution is the many years of overusing antibiotics to kill bacteria. A problem with antibiotics is, it kills off infection it is intended to kill, nevertheless can also kill our good bacteria. Thus over time many bacteria are becoming resistant to treatments and can make the other viral infections stronger too. Essentially over many years we are making bacteria and viruses evolve to become more problematic.
This is where my story gets even more interesting - beyond the influenza viruses. Retroviruses are classified as group of RNA viruses and are called ‘retro’ because they only have an RNA genome and function differently to other viruses. Covid – 19 is a form of retrovirus. Another word worth knowing at this point is ‘Zoonosis’ whereby an animal retrovirus jumps species and learns to invade immune mechanisms of humans. One reason viruses from animals are dangerous to humans is our immune systems have no means to deal with them. Coronaviruses are usually common to animals not human. Animals' immune systems are different to humans. A virus that is harmless to animals may cause havoc for humans. The moment an animal virus gets into a human is critical as it mutates, evolves and replicates in the human body. One of my concerns is if animal ingredients are used in the base to replicate viruses in the production of some vaccines, they may contain minute retroviruses as Judy Mikovits and Prof Dolores Cahill both speak of in their interviews/writings. However, the Spanish flu was a bird flu and this crossed over to humans pre vaccine discovery so zoonosis appears to naturally happen too. Either way, retroviruses and or corona viruses are developing in humans and can in some trigger what is called a cytokine storm.
Cytokine storm is not the rain or thunder. Cytokine ( ST- Toh- kine) storm is defined as a severe immune reaction in which the body releases too many cytokines or chemicals into the blood too quickly. Cytokines play an important role in normal immune responses but having a large amount of them released in the body all at once can be harmful, causing inflammation throughout the body. This cascade response then can damage multiple organs – producing what is known as sepsis. A cytokine storm can occur as a result of an infection, autoimmune condition, or other disease. Signs and symptoms include high fever, inflammation (redness and swelling), and severe fatigue and nausea. Sometimes, a cytokine storm may be severe or life threatening and lead to multiple organ failure.
Cytokine storm is what scares people in regard to Covid- 19 but the current statistics are 90 percent of people will not even get this virus, of the 10 percent that do, 85% will not get it badly or have mild to no symptoms. 1.5% of people may get it badly and these are the people that seem to have previous and current compromised health. This is where social distancing, washing hands properly, keeping well plays a role so we do not expose compromised people to germs.
The scientists are trying to get to the bottom of why Covid -19 became a human virus- was it wet markets, laboratory or vaccine based. It will be good to have a proper investigation done by non-invested parties to help us learn more and help prevent future occurrences.
Some of the things that make me optimistic about the future of viruses are:
The world is continually looking for medications that kill these types of viruses and bacteria and/or stop them in their tracks. Maybe a new revolution in the history of medicine is about to happen.
Maybe more people will see it is time to use medicines and foods that make our bodies stronger so we can fight off these viral infections so we as humans can build up an immunity to them naturally.
Great research is already taking place concerning integrative medicines.
It is great to see many doctors only using antibiotics if absolutely needed.
Hopefully vaccines in the future will not have heavy metals, or virus grown in animal or foetal substances.
Hopefully any vaccinations developed will be tested well for side effects.
Hopefully Individuals always have choice in medicine and individual vaccinations
Hopefully people in the whole world are given the opportunity/funds to have the right preventive food and medicine to help their immunity just as wealthier countries do.
If you would like to work on your immune system more please feel free to make an appointment with one of our practitioners.
Immunity is very individual.
Metagenics March 2020 The Pathogen Puzzle: Navigating Chronic infection and disease connection
Dr. Dalores J. Cahill on Del Bigtree, May 2020, YouTube
Dr. Judy Mikovits PHD , Detection of infectious retrovirus
Plandemic Movie Part 1, May 2020 YouTube
NIH, National Cancer Institute dictionary of terms.