Coronavirus May Not Be a Respiratory Disease After All and that Could Change Everything, a Study Claims
A group of researchers reveals in their study that the coronavirus might not be a respiratory virus. Instead, it might be causing a toll on endothelial cells, affecting blood vessels. Many unexpected symptoms of COVID-19 started to arise in April, including blood clotting, strokes, and painful red or purple toes.
Scientists later discovered that new symptoms related to cardiovascular complications. Months after the pandemic started, experts began to see sense behind the mysterious symptoms.
In the study, the authors determined that the SARS-CoV-2 affected endothelial cells in the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, and intestines in infected patients. Furthermore, endothelial cells line the inside of blood vessels and give off a protein responsible for numerous processes such as blood clotting and immune response.
The findings of the paper were published on April 20, 2020, in the scientific journal The Lancet.
COVID-19 Affects the Blood VesselsAccording to Mandeep Mehra, MD, the Medical Director of the Brigham and Women's Hospital Heart and Vascular Center, COVID-19 appears to start as a respiratory disease. It then, later on, ends up affecting the body's vasculature system, which ultimately causes death in most severely-ill patients.
William Li, M.D., the Angiogenesis Foundation president, adds that the new symptoms seemingly unrelated to the respiratory system, such as kidney damage, stroke, encephalitis, and inflammation of the heart, seemed to be a mystery at first. He explained that the symptoms were not normally seen in most infectious diseases, like SARS or H1N1.
The endothelial cell layer is in part responsible for the regulation of blood clots, according to Sanjum Sethi, MD, MPH, an interventional cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Furthermore, it inhibits clot formation in a variety of ways. If the process is disrupted, blood clots would most likely be the result, he adds.
Additionally, a new paper published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine uncovered extensive evidence of blood clots and infection in the endothelial cells in the lungs of people who died from COVID-19.
Moreover, researchers believe that infection of the blood vessels could be how the virus makes its way through the body and infects other organs. This behavior of the virus is something not commonly seen in respiratory infections, experts say.
Antiviral Therapy Might not be the Best to Fight CoronavirusIf the theory of the coronavirus being a vasculotropic virus proves to be true, scientists say that antiviral therapy might not be of much help to fight it. Instead, they suggest that ACE inhibitor drugs might just do the trick.
In another New England Journal of Medicine study, researchers looked at nearly 9,000 people with COVID-19 and presented that the use of statins and ACE inhibitors were linked to higher rates of survival. Statins are drugs that significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks by lowering cholesterol or preventing plaque formation in the blood vessels.
Mehra says that both statins and ACE inhibitors are significantly protective of vascular diseases since they stabilize endothelial cells. He adds that they are building a completely different approach in treating COVID-19, as it might be better to go for a drug that preserves the vascular endothelial cells, rather than focus on antiviral therapy.
When we think of the forces driving cancer, we don’t necessarily think of evolution. But evolution and cancer are closely linked, for the historical processes that created life also created cancer. The Cheating Cell delves into this extraordinary relationship, and shows that by understanding cancer’s evolutionary origins, researchers can come up with more effective, revolutionary treatments.
Athena Aktipis goes back billions of years to explore when unicellular forms became multicellular organisms. Within these bodies of cooperating cells, cheating ones arose, overusing resources and replicating out of control, giving rise to cancer. Aktipis illustrates how evolution has paved the way for cancer’s ubiquity, and why it will exist as long as multicellular life does. Even so, she argues, this doesn’t mean we should give up on treating cancer—in fact, evolutionary approaches offer new and promising options for the disease’s prevention and treatments that aim at long-term management rather than simple eradication. Looking across species—from sponges and cacti to dogs and elephants—we are discovering new mechanisms of tumor suppression and the many ways that multicellular life-forms have evolved to keep cancer under control. By accepting that cancer is a part of our biological past, present, and future—and that we cannot win a war against evolution—treatments can become smarter, more strategic, and more humane.
Unifying the latest research from biology, ecology, medicine, and social science, The Cheating Cell challenges us to rethink cancer’s fundamental nature and our relationship to it.
WhatThe new cluster of viral pneumonia cases originating in Wuhan, China, marks the third time in 20 years that a member of the large family of coronaviruses (CoVs) has jumped from animals to humans and sparked an outbreak. In a new JAMA Viewpoint essay, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), looks back at two earlier novel CoV outbreaks that initially caused global havoc and describes steps needed to contain the current one. NIAID is part of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Fauci and his co-authors, Hilary D. Marston, M.D., M.P.H., of NIAID, and Catharine I. Paules, M.D., of Penn State University College of Medicine, Hershey, note that human CoVs historically have been regarded as relatively benign causes of the common cold. In 2002, however, a novel, highly pathogenic CoV emerged in China that caused 8,098 recorded cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), including 774 deaths, and cost the global economy billions of dollars. Classic public health measures brought the outbreak to an end.
Another CoV jumped from animals to humans in 2012 to cause of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Unlike SARS-CoV, which has not caused additional human cases since being eliminated within several months of the initial outbreak, MERS-CoV continues to smolder due to sporadic transmission from camels—the virus’s intermediate host—to people, and limited chains of person-to-person transmission.
The latest CoV to emerge is the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), recognized by Chinese authorities in Wuhan on Dec. 31, 2019. It has spread beyond Wuhan to other Chinese cities and to multiple countries, including at least one confirmed case in the United States. The Viewpoint authors write, “While the trajectory of this outbreak is impossible to predict, effective response requires prompt action from the standpoint of classic public health strategies to the timely development and implementation of effective countermeasures.”
Current studies at NIAID-funded institutions and by scientists in NIAID laboratories include efforts that build on previous work on SARS- and MERS-CoVs. For example, researchers are developing diagnostic tests to rapidly detect 2019-nCoV infection and exploring the use of broad-spectrum anti-viral drugs to treat 2019-nCoVs, the authors note. NIAID researchers also are adapting approaches used with investigational SARS and MERS vaccines to jumpstart candidate vaccine development for 2019-nCoV. Advances in technology since the SARS outbreak have greatly compressed the vaccine development timeline, the authors write. They indicate that a candidate vaccine for 2019-nCoV could be ready for early-stage human testing in as little as three months as compared to 20 months for early-stage development of an investigational SARS vaccine.
The authors conclude that, “the emergence of yet another outbreak of human disease caused by a pathogen from a viral family formerly thought to be relatively benign underscores the perpetual challenge of emerging infectious diseases and the importance of sustained preparedness.”
ArticleCI Paules et al. Coronavirus infections: More than just the common cold. Journal of the American Medical Association. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2020.0757 (2020).
WhoNIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci is available to provide comment.
ContactTo schedule interviews, please contact Anne A. Oplinger, (301) 402-1663, email@example.com.
NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Shiro Ishii, commander of Unit 731, which performed live human vivisections and other biological experimentation.
What do we know about PLA biological warfare? Rick Fisher, International Assessment and Strategy Center. @GordonGChang @TheDailyBeast
The new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, in December (officially designated 2019-nCoV) or perhaps as early as October, is interesting in a number of ways—genetics, epidemiology, evolution, even public policy. Main factors: degree of infectiousness, and virulence. . . . It can happen that “the ‘chromosomes’ of the different viruses rearrange, or ‘reassort,’ giving rise to a novel virus.”
Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, on the effect of the epidemic on the Chinese political system. Chinese participants in the Internet keeps demanding, “Where is Trump?”—meaning: Where the heck is Xi? Xi and the CCP have disgraced themselves in the matter of the Wuhan virus. Chinese people call the coronavirus: ”Xi’s disease.”
Dr Henry Miller, Pacific Research Institute: The bottom line is that, for the time being, we need to maintain surveillance, practice good “social engineering” and isolation techniques, provide appropriate supportive care for infected patients, and create the infrastructure for rapid vaccine development in the future.
The definitive—and also most elegantly stated—discussion of the outbreak:
It is now thirty years since the discovery of AIDS but its origins continue to puzzle doctors and scientists. Inspired by his own experiences working as an infectious diseases physician in Africa, Jacques Pepin looks back to the early twentieth-century events in Africa that triggered the emergence of HIV/AIDS and traces its subsequent development into the most dramatic and destructive epidemic of modern times.
He shows how the disease was first transmitted from chimpanzees to man and then how urbanization, prostitution, and large-scale colonial medical campaigns intended to eradicate tropical diseases combined to disastrous effect to fuel the spread of the virus from its origins in Léopoldville to the rest of Africa, the Caribbean and ultimately worldwide.
This is an essential new perspective on HIV/AIDS and on the lessons that must be learnt if we are to avoid provoking another pandemic in the future. Comprehensive and coherent history of events that led to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. This book adds historical perspective to recent molecular work on the chronology of the development of the virus
Emphasizes how colonialism, the urbanization of central Africa, as well as interventions to control tropical diseases, created the right environment for HIV/AIDS to develop.
2019 AIDS Update
Current State of HIV Cure
The Evolving Genetics of HIV
Today's technologically advanced cultures understand disease and pathogens differently from pre-modern peoples, who viewed calamities as mythological, millenial and threatening.
William McNeill's ground breaking seminal book (Plagues & Peoples) is a cogent account of archaic, mythological civilizations beginning to congregate after the achievement of planting, the single most advanced achievement of neolithic man. Epidemic diseases flourished throughout neolithic periods with the propensity for large homogenized concentrations of peoples in tight quarters with pestilence ridden animals created the vortex of opportunity for extreme pathogens to flourish.......as does the terror.
A second century smallpox epidemic ultimately quickened the pace of the fall of Rome; the 14th century saw the of bubonic plague captured by Italian merchants along the Silk Road arriving south to Mediterranean littoral regions like Venice and Constantinople wiping out nearly a third of western Europe's population.
William McNeill recounts how human ingenuity, trading routes and progress itself is inseparable from the mythological terror of premodern societies.
The Arrival and Spread of Black Plague in Europe
Khan Academy- Bubonic Plague
A series of natural disasters in the Orient during the fourteenth century brought about the most devastating period of death and destruction in European history. The epidemic killed one-third of Europe's people over a period of three years, and the resulting social and economic upheaval was on a scale unparalleled in all of recorded history. Synthesizing the records of contemporary chroniclers and the work of later historians, Philip Ziegler offers a critically acclaimed overview of this crucial epoch in a single masterly volume. The Black Death vividly and comprehensively brings to light the full horror of this uniquely catastrophic event that hastened the disintegration of an age.
A flea's host boards shipping vessels in Byzantine Venice and Florence, only later did the Monarchy discover that its exporting bubonic plague.
A vast percentage of western Europe is wiped out!
Sorting through the evidence requires painstaking grave digging, micro-biologists and review of historical data to confirm its origin from the Eurasian Silk Road.
A series of natural disasters in the Orient during the fourteenth century brought about the most devastating period of death and destruction in European history.
The epidemic killed one-third of Europe's people over a period of three years, and the resulting social and economic upheaval was on a scale unparalleled in all of recorded history.
Synthesizing the records of contemporary chroniclers and the work of later historians, Philip Ziegler offers a critically acclaimed overview of this crucial epoch in a single masterly volume. The Black Death vividly and comprehensively brings to light the full horror of this uniquely catastrophic event that hastened the disintegration of an age.
A macabre 'plague pit' containing 48 skeletons has been uncovered at Thornton Abbey, Lincolnshire in the UK – a mass grave of villagers who fell victim to the Black Plague.
The discovery, which includes the remains of 27 children, is an extremely rare find in the UK - despite the devastation unleashed by the deadly plague during the 14th century, this represents only the third confirmed mass burial site tied to the pandemic.
"Despite the fact it is now estimated that up to half the population of England perished during the Black Death, multiple graves associated with the event are extremely rare in this country," says lead researcher Hugh Willmott from the University of Sheffield, "and it seems local communities continued to dispose of their loved ones in as ordinary a way as possible."
While conventional burials may have been the norm, in extreme circumstances local communities would have been overwhelmed by the Black Death, the team says, resorting to disposing of huge numbers of corpses at once.
"The finding of a previously unknown and completely unexpected mass burial dating to this period in a quiet corner of rural Lincolnshire is thus far unique," Willmott says, "and sheds light into the real difficulties faced by a small community ill prepared to face such a devastating threat."
The Black Death, often singled out as the deadliest plague humanity has ever faced, is estimatedto have killed 75 to 200 million people, with the peak of the pandemic occurring in Europe between 1346 and 1353.
The infection, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, reached Lincolnshire in the spring of 1349, where it killed unknown numbers of local adults and children in a matter of days.
"Mass burials are a signal of when the system has broken down," Willmott told Haroon Siddique at The Guardian. "This community had obviously reached a point where it could not cope."
The researchers say the bodies here were not heaped on top of one another, but carefully laid out in rows, with the placement of children overlapping adults suggesting possible family groups.
The plague killed quickly – with infected people dying within three to five days – so it's likely that the bodies here were brought to the abbey from a nearby monastery hospital, to receive last rites from the priests.
While those last rites may have been administered, the clergy couldn't offer these poor souls traditional burials due to the great numbers of infected. So the church and townspeople would have been forced to dig mass graves, the kind of which researchers have only seen in London before now.
"The only two previously identified 14th century sites where Yersinia pestis has been identified are historically documented cemeteries in London, where the civic authorities were forced to open new emergency burial grounds to cope with the very large numbers of the urban dead," Willmott says in a press release.
The excavation, which began in 2011, discovered various belongings in addition to human remains, including a pendant called a Tau Cross, worn to ward off sickness – but which sadly could offer no protection from the scourge of the Black Death.
"[It] was found in the excavated hospital building," says Willmott.
"This pendant was used by some people as a supposed cure against a condition called St Antony's fire, which in modern day science is probably a variety of skin conditions."
To confirm the discovery, the archaeologists sent teeth samples from the skeletons to researchers at McMaster University in Canada, who extracted DNA from the tooth pulp.
Tests confirmed the presence of Yersinia pestis, but while it's only the third such Black Death mass grave found in England, there could be many more, hidden by vegetation and the passage of time.
"Before we began the dig the site was just an ordinary green field grazed by sheep for hundreds of years, but like many fields across England, as soon as you take away the turf, layers of history can be revealed by archaeology," says Willmott.
The research is ongoing, so the researchers haven't published any of their findings as yet.
But they intend to further study the bodies back in the lab, to try to figure out which of the skeletons were related in life, what their health and diet was like, and even look for clues as to their livelihoods.
"We don't focus just on their deaths," Willmott told The Guardian.
"Archaeologists tend to see the point as learning about these people in life. We know now they died from the Black Death, but this was a living, breathing community. What can these skeletons tell us about their lives before their funeral?"
HISTORY OF THORNTON ABBEY AND GATEHOUSE
BBC NEWS: DEATH PIT
TAU CROSS: MEDIEVAL HEALTHCARE
EXCAVATION OF THORNTON ABBEY: DNA ANALYSIS, 3D MODELING, AND SURPRISES TOO!