The SCMP recently reported new research findings that the ‘Coronavirus [is] far more likely than Sars to bond to human cells’.This means that the likelihood of being infected is higher than that of SARS which we are seeing in the numbers affected, but the positive part to this is that this COVID-19 seems to have a better recover rate than that of SARS.
My question when faced with something like the Coronavirus or any other illness, like cancer, is, ‘Is there anything that can I do about it?’
In a previous article I wrote at the onset of the Coronavirus ‘outbreak’, I gave my 10 Defense Strategies for the Coronavirus. These are basic tips that everyone should be adopting, like keeping good hygiene and also adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
- 10 Defense Strategies For The Coronavirus
- 【Coronarvirus】How Fear Suppresses Your Immune System
- 【Coronavirus 】Chlorine & Our Microbiome
- Keeping Good Hand Hygiene With Eczema
But now as time has passed and data is collected we now know more about this virus and so more can be done with more information. I always believe that knowledge is power and ignorance only gives you momentary bliss.
To unpack this new research we have to understand how viruses infect our bodies.
How do viruses enter our bodies?
The diagram below gives us a simple picture of what’s going on inside our body when a virus enters in.
Step 1 is where the virus recognizes our cells through receptors. We know that there are at least two influencers that cause the Coronavirus to attach to our receptor cells.
- ACE2 protein
- Furin protein (seen more in HIV, Ebola viruses, not in SARS)
The virus uses the outreaching spike protein to hook on to the host cell, but normally this protein is inactive. The cleavage site structure’s job is to trick the human furin protein, so it will cut and activate the spike protein and cause a “direct fusion” of the viral and cellular membranes. Compared to the Sars’ way of entry, this binding method is “100 to 1,000 times” as efficient, according to the study.
The reproduction of the virus in Steps 2 through 4 is similar in all viruses, where the virus releases the DNA or RNA, in the case of the Coronavirus it is RNA, then the cell unknowingly follows the instructions from the RNA and makes more of this virus within the cell. And from there the cells explode to release new viruses into the body and the infection cycle is repeated and spread throughout the body unless contained.
In this article I will focus on the first influencer, ACE2 Protein that is specific to the Coronavirus.
Scientists showed that Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) entered the human body by binding with a receptor protein called ACE2 on a cell membrane. And some early studies suggested that the new coronavirus, which shares about 80 per cent of the genetic structure of Sars, might follow a similar path.
There has been some studies suggesting that ACE2 is found more in Asians than Africans or Caucasians. But this study was only done on a handful of participants. So instead of focusing on this study where even if this were to be true, we can’t do much about where we come from, I’d like to present you with this next study that was done on a larger number of participants.
This study looked at 224 lung cancer patient tissues and found that those who smoked had a higher distribution and concentration of ACE2, and in fact it showed that race and gender had less influence on ACE2 than their lifestyle habits that included smoking. This study indicates that “smokers especially former smokers may be more susceptible to 2019-nCov and have infection paths different with non-smokers.”
The study however did not look at environment impact like pollution on our lungs, but I would expect that there may be some direct correlations as well. Since this COVID-19 directly infiltrates our respiratory system and the research is also suggesting the increase of ACE2, the receptor that allow for this virus to enter into our bodies. My immediate reaction and thought to this is to strengthen and detoxify my lungs. And of course, if you are a smoker, now could not be a more suitable time to quit smoking (and ask your friends to quit smoking because second hand smoke is just as bad!)
How to detoxify the lungs?
A good house plant like snake plants are good to clear the air as is a good air purifier. I am specifically recommending the Flora Respir•Essence which contains a traditional herbal blend of thyme, licorice root, English plantain, stinging nettle, cowslip primrose flower, and elecampane. I particularly like this blend because of its first two ingredients: thyme and licroice root.
Thyme helps fight respiratory infections. It also acts as a natural expectorant that serves as an antiseptic and helps expulse mucus. It’s easy for smoke whether inhaled through the nose or mouth to leave behind particles. Thyme together with the other herbals in this formula can help clear these particles.
Licorice root has been used for thousands of years for lung infections with similar symptoms of viral infections. Studies have found that licorice root extracts were able to reduce SARS and MERS replications.
A 2008 study from the UK's Luton & Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust tested licorice root extracts against a number of viruses, including HIV and SARS. They found that the extract broken down the viral envelope and also boosted immune activity.
How to strengthen the lungs?
For those of us who live in Asia or just any big city, we likely have some sort of lung tissue damage or scarring from the pollution or a previous bad cough. After detoxification of our lungs, we also need to strengthen and repair our lung tissue. One of the best ways to do this is using silica. And horsetail is one of the richest sources of silica from plants. Silica is typically known to repair hair, skin, bones and nails, but it’s also used to repair our connective tissue including our lung tissues. There’s been some suggestions among herbalists that also show silica’s benefits on deep seated lung tissue damage from tuberculosis and pneumonia.
We know that :
- The Coronavirus easily binds to ACE2 protein receptors as a way to enter the body
- Studies suggest that ACE2 is higher and more concentrated in smokers
What can we do ?1. Detoxify your lungs :
- get a good air purifier and some house plants
- do a lung detox with Flora’s Respiressence
- Easiest way to do this is by using silica from horsetail.
3. Read the part 2 article:
*Most important : quit smoking and don’t expose yourself to second hand smoke
Written by Denise Tam, Holistic Nutritionist