Simply continuing the definition of viruses characteristics with the intent of refreshing the basic knowledge. In this chapter are analyzed way they replicate and invade the host cells, life cycle, their genome and classification related, the cytopathic effects, latent and dormant status and host range, to better understand the pathogenicity of the most dangerous as of the present coronavirus.

Replication Cycle

Viruses are acellular units and for this reason do not grow through cell division, instead they use the systems and metabolism of a host cell to produce multiple copies of themselves, then they assemble inside the cell. When infected, the host cell is forced to produce thousands of identical copies of the original virus.

Their life cycle differs between species, but there are six basic stages in their life cycle:

Attachment which is a specific binding between viral capsid proteins and specific receptors on the host cellular surface. This specificity determines the host range and type of host cell of a virus. Attachment to the receptor can induce the viral envelope protein to undergo changes that result in the fusion of viral and cellular membranes.

The attachment is followed by viral entry, virions enter the host cell through receptor-mediated endocytosis or membrane fusion. Plants have a rigid cell wall made of cellulose, and fungi one of chitin, so most viruses can get inside these cells only after breaking the cell wall. Bacteria, like plants, have strong cell walls that a virus must breach to infect the cell; bacterial cell walls are much thinner than plant cell walls due to their smaller size, some viruses have evolved mechanisms that inject their genome into the bacterial cell through the cell wall, while the viral capsid remains outside.

Subsequently to the attachment comes the uncoating. Uncoating is a process in which the viral capsid is removed: this can happen by degradation performed by viral enzymes or host enzymes or by simple dissociation; the result is the releasing of the viral genomic nucleic acid.

Replication of viruses involves primarily multiplication of the genome as synthesis of viral messenger RNA, mRNA, from initial genes, with exceptions for positive sense RNA viruses, viral protein synthesis, possible assembly of viral proteins, then viral genome replication mediated by initial or regulatory protein expression. This may be followed, for complex viruses with larger genomes, by one or more series of mRNA synthesis: late gene expression usually happens with structural or virion proteins.

Then comes the assembly phase where proteins go through modifications. In viruses like HIV, this modification, called maturation, occurs after the virus has been released from the host cell.

Genome replication

During the final step viruses can be released from the host cell by lysis, a process that kills the cell by breaking its membrane and cell wall if present. Some viruses undergo a lysogenic cycle where the viral genome is incorporated by genetic recombination into a specific place in the host’s chromosome. The viral genome is then known as a provirus or, in the case of bacteriophages a prophage. Whenever the host divides, the viral genome is also replicated. The viral genome is mostly silent within the host. At some point, the provirus or prophage may generate active virus, which may lyse the host cells. 

The genetic material of virus particles, and the method of replication of this material varies significantly among different types of viruses.

DNA viruses

The genome replication of most DNA viruses takes place in the cell’s host nucleus. If the cell has the appropriate receptor on its surface, these viruses enter the cell either by direct fusion with the cell membrane or by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Most DNA viruses are totally dependent on the host cell’s DNA and RNA synthesizing and processing devices. Viruses with larger genomes may encode much of these mechanisms themselves. In eukaryotes the viral genome must cross the cell’s nuclear membrane to access this equipment, while in bacteria it is necessary only to enter the cell.

RNA viruses

Replication of RNA viruses usually takes place in the cytoplasm. RNA viruses can be placed into four different groups depending on their modes of replication. The polarity of single-stranded RNA viruses largely determines the replicative mechanism; the other major criteria is whether the genetic material is single-stranded or double-stranded. All RNA viruses use their own RNA replicase enzymes to create copies of their genomes.

Reverse transcribing viruses

Reverse transcribing viruses have ssRNA as RetroviridaeMetaviridaePseudoviridae or dsDNA as Caulimodviridae, and Hepadnaviridae in their particles. Reverse transcribing viruses with RNA genomes as Retroviruses use a DNA intermediate to replicate, while those with DNA genomes, Paretroviruses, use an RNA intermediate during genome replication. Both types use a reverse transcriptase, or RNA-dependent DNA polymerase, to carry out the nucleic acid conversion. Retroviruses integrate the DNA produced by reverse transcription into the host genome as a provirus as a part of the replication process. They are susceptible to antiviral drugs that inhibit the reverse transcriptase enzyme as zidovudine and lamivudine. An example of the first type is HIV, which is a retrovirus, examples of the second type are the Hepadnviridae, which include Hepatitis B virus.

Cytopathic effects on the host cell

These are the range of structural and biochemical effects that viruses have on the host cell. Most virus infections eventually result in the death of the host cell. The causes of death include cell lysis, alterations to the cell’s surface membrane and apoptosis. Often cell death is caused by cessation of its normal activities because of suppression by virus-specific proteins, not all of which are components of the virus particle. Some viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus, can cause cells to proliferate without causing malignancy, while others, such as Papillomavirus, are established causes of cancer.

Dormant and latent infections

Some viruses cause no apparent changes to the infected cell. Cells in which the virus is latent and inactive show few signs of infection and often function normally. This causes persistent infections, and the virus is often dormant for many months or years; this is what typically happens with the Herpes viruses.

Host range

Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on earth. They infect all types of cellular life including animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi. Different types of viruses can infect only a limited range of hosts and many are species-specific. Some as smallpox virus for example, can infect only humans, and are said to have a narrow host range. Other viruses, such as rabies virus, can infect different species of mammals and are said to have a broad range. The viruses that infect plants are harmless to animals, and most viruses that infect other animals are harmless to humans with the exception of those cause of zoonosis as the rabies virus or the coronavirus to mention some. The host range of certain bacteriophages is limited to a single strain of bacteria and they can be used to trace the source of outbreaks of infections by a method called phage typing. The complete set of viruses in an organism or habitat is called the virome; for example, all human viruses constitute the human virome.

To be continued

Thanks for Reading

Mariarosaria M.



Lactoferrin, Iron Metabolism and Coronavirus


Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein of human secretions and part of the non-specific, or innate immune system, it has been used in trials in Italy on patients affected by Covid-19 as adjunct therapy and seems that has worked pretty well; the patients resolved in the arch of few days and it looks that they are also suggesting as preventive therapy.

The doctor in charge was explaining that the idea of testing lactoferrin came to her while brainstorming on why kids are almost immune to this virus, or if affected in less dramatic forms (other than those with the Kawasaki disease manifestation I would add), and since lactoferrin seems to be a protein under studies of these last periods she started trials on Covid-19 patients and the results were satisfactory.

A review from Italian scientists analyzes the functions and implications of lactoferrin with viral infections and the iron metabolism associate. The article has been published on the “International Journal of Molecular Science” and includes scientists from the University of Rome, Italy, department of Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Tor Vergata, and La Sapienza.

The authors in this review analyze the properties of lactoferrin and its interaction and function with Coronavirus infection and inflammation status, as natural barrier of both respiratory and gastrointestinal route of entry and of inflammation of the virus, and the role of reverting iron disorders caused by the viral colonization.

Under their description iron plays a critical role in the inflammatory processes by facilitating viral progression and exacerbating the inflammatory process at the same time. Iron in excess creates ROS, reactive oxygen species, free radicals which are oxidative and damaging and cause of organs failure among the other degenerative processes.

In pathological conditions the concentration of iron increases and so the susceptibility to infections, ROS production and inflammatory damage. Iron homeostasis includes different proteins like, transferrin, ferritin, and lactoferrin to mention the most common.

During viral infection, the homeostasis of iron is disturbed leading to iron disorders worsened by the action of inflammatory cytokines as interleukine-6, (IL-6), for example.

Studies done on patients affected by viral infections demonstrate that when serum levels of IL-6 increases, the iron saturation of serum levels of transferrin as well as of the receptors decreases; this shows that the host’s status of iron can alter the course of infection and its resolution, in fact significant viral replication requires high iron availability. Clinical data supports that iron homeostasis disorders and dysregulated synthesis brings to intercellular overload of iron which facilitate viral multiplication and spreading of the infection.

Iron imbalance induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection and related inflammatory processes could play a role in the activation and progression of organ impairment. Indeed, the most severe cases of Covid-19, present massive systemic level of infection and inflammatory markers as cytokines and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-a). The excessive release of pro-inflammatory biomarkers referred as “cytokines storm” has evolved as an important system of surveillance to fight infections and inflammations but that may contribute to organ damage and impairment.

Lactoferrin instead could be a key element as adjunct treatment of host defenses acting as protective barrier against the virus. It is already known that lactoferrin plays an important role against microbial and viral infections for its anti-inflammatory effects on mucosal surfaces and that is able to regulate the iron metabolism.

This protein is capable to chelate reversibly two Fe (III), or Fe trivalent per molecule with high affinity, it is a cationic glycoprotein, release iron at pH values lower than 5.5 and can bind trivalent iron until pH values of ~3. It is a protein of the innate immune system which is constitute by lymphocytes T and other type of cells and their products, secrets by exocrine glands and neutrophils during infections and inflammation.

Variety of studies have recognized a highest homology of sequence among human and bovine lactoferrin, ~70% and so of biological functions, for this reason has been applied in studies in vitro and vivo and recognized as “safe” by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and available in large quantities.


The various functions are associate to the capacity to chelate two trivalent iron, or ferric iron, or Fe (III) and to bind to anionic surfaces; with its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties is capable to control the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines as demonstrated in vitro as in vivo, as in clinical trials.

Several studies describe its antiviral activity towards enveloped and naked viruses of different families, as Retroviridae, Papillomaviridae, Herpesviridae, Adenoviridae, Pneumoviridae, and so on.

It has also been found to obstacle viral entry into host cells by binding competitively to cell surface receptors, mainly negatively charged compounds such as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).

In general, the antiviral effect of lactoferrin occurs during the initial phase of infection by preventing the viral particle entrance into the host cells, either by blocking cellular receptors than binding viral particles.

For the majority of viruses tested, lactoferrin employs its activity by binding to heparan sulphate, while with few viruses interacting with other surface components.

The results of studies effectuated on mice cells- and which were investigating the role of lactoferrin at the entry of SARS pseudo viruses- revealed that this protein blocks the entry by binding to the spike protein of the virus, showing this way that its inhibitory activity takes place at the attachment viral stage.

The present accepted model suggests that lactoferrin could block viral entry by interacting with heparan sulfate proteoglycans, which mediate the transport of extracellular virus particles from the low affinity sites to the high affinity specific entry as ACE-2.

These results suggest that lactoferrin could play a protective role in host defense against SARS-CoV-2 and host cells. The ability to enter inside the nucleus may also reduce the activation of the cytokines storm avoiding systemic, lung, or intestinal iron homeostasis disorders as well as diseases exacerbation.

Recently have been also investigated the effects of lactoferrin in regulating the activation of plasminogen, to verify if this molecule is involved in controlling the coagulation cascade promoted by the coronavirus.

Current studies have shown that can exercise negative regulatory effects on cells migration via inhibition of prostaglandins activation and through the regulation of fibrinolysis. This activity has been also confirmed by evidence of a peptide with the amino acids sequence derived from lactoferrin showing antithrombotic activity.

The authors test that there are more than 140 trials available on, among these, major contribution of lactoferrin has been demonstrated on anemia, bacterial and viral infection, in both communitarian and nosocomial inflammation and prevention of sepsis. These trials assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of lactoferrin as oral dietary supplements and/or as intranasal spray.  

It seems an alternative and adjuvant therapy to take in consideration since already applied in Italy and proved to function, eventually to add among the other alternative and validated therapies to the regular and current most utilized and verified therapies for Covid-19 in hospital and at home, for those who does not require hospitalization.

The data in this article have been summarized and rearranged from the original article written from Italian scientists with the exception of some of my personal comments and observations.

Thanks For Reading

Mariarosaria M.


“Lactoferrin as Protective Natural Barrier of Respiratory and Intestinal Mucosa against Coronavirus Infection and Inflammation” International Journal of Molecular Medicine

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020

Biology of Viruses

By FuseSchool,

Life properties

Viruses have been described as “organisms at the edge of life”, since they resemble living organisms, they possess genes, evolve by natural selection, and reproduce by creating multiple copies of themselves through self-assembly.

Although they have genes, they do not have a cellular structure, do not have their own metabolism, and require a host cell to make new products. 

Viruses are found wherever there is life and have probably existed since living cells first evolved. The origin of viruses is unclear because they do not form fossils, molecular techniques are used to investigate how they developed. 


There are three main hypotheses to explain the origins of viruses:

Regressive hypothesis

For this theory viruses could be small cells that parasitized larger cells, genes not required by their parasitism were lost with time.

Cellular origin hypothesis

The cellular hypothesis suggests that some viruses may have evolved from bits of DNA or RNA that “escaped” from the genes of a larger organism. The escaped DNA could have come from plasmids or transposons.

Co-evolution hypothesis

This theory proposes that viruses may have evolved from complex molecules of protein and nucleic acid at the same time that cells first appeared on Earth and would have been dependent on cellular life for billions of years.

Viroids are molecules of RNA that are not classified as viruses because they lack a protein coat. They have characteristics that are common to several viruses and are often called subviral agents. Viroid are important pathogens of plants. They do not code for proteins but interact with the host cell and use the host genetic material for their replication. 

The Hepatitis delta virus of humans has an RNA genome similar to viroid but has a protein coat derived from hepatitis B virus and cannot produce one of its own. It is, therefore, a defective virus. These viruses, which are dependent on the presence of other virus species in the host cell, are called satellites and may represent evolutionary intermediates of viroid and viruses.

The evidence of an ancestral world of RNA cells and computer analysis of viral and host DNA sequences are giving a better understanding of the evolutionary relationships between different viruses and may help identify the ancestors of modern viruses.

Structure and Morphology

A complete virus particle, o virion, consists of nucleic acid surrounded by a protective coat of protein called capsid. These are formed from identical protein subunits called capsomeres. Viruses can have a lipid “envelope” derived from the host cell membrane. The capsid is made from proteins encoded by the viral genome and its shape serves as the basis for morphological distinction.

Complex viruses code for proteins that assist in the construction of their capsid. Proteins associated with nucleic acid are known as nucleoproteins, and the association of viral capsid proteins with viral nucleic acid is called a nucleocapsid.

Based on the shape of the capsomer there are different types:

Helical, as for the tobacco mosaic virus, Icosahedral as for the rotavirus, Prolate, as for the head of bacteriophages.

Some species of virus envelop themselves in a modified form of one of the cell membranes with an outer lipid bilayer known as a viral envelope, the lipid membrane itself originate entirely from the host. The influenza virus and HIV use this strategy. Most enveloped viruses are dependent on the envelope for their infectivity.

Complex viruses possess a capsid that is neither purely helical nor purely icosahedral, and that may possess extra structures such as protein tails or a complex outer wall. Some bacteriophages have a complex structure consisting of an icosahedral head bound to a helical tail, which may have a hexagonal base plate with protruding protein tail fibers. This tail structure acts like a molecular syringe, attaching to the bacterial host and then injecting the viral genome into the cell.



Viruses contain more structural genomic diversity than other living organisms and microorganisms. There are millions of different types of viruses.

A virus has either a DNA or an RNA genome and is called DNA virus or RNA virus, respectively. The vast majority of viruses have RNA genomes. Plant viruses tend to have single-stranded RNA genomes and bacteriophages tend to have double-stranded DNA genomes.

Viral genomes are circular, as in the polyomaviruses, or linear, as in the adenoviruses.  In RNA viruses and certain DNA viruses, the genome is often divided into separate parts, and is called segmented. For RNA viruses, each segment often codes for only one protein and they are usually found together in one capsid. All segments are not required to be in the same virion for the virus to be infectious.

A viral genome, irrespective of nucleic acid type, is almost always either single-stranded or double-stranded. Single-stranded genomes consist of an unpaired nucleic acid, double-stranded genomes consist of two complementary paired nucleic acids. The virus particles of some virus families contain a genome that is partially double-stranded and partially single-stranded.

For most viruses with RNA genomes and some with single-stranded DNA genomes, the single strands are said to be either positive sense or negative sense, depending on if they are complementary to the viral RNA messenger, m-RNA.

Negative-sense viral RNA is complementary to m-RNA and thus must be converted to positive-sense RNA by an RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase before translation.

In general, RNA viruses have smaller genome sizes than DNA viruses because of a higher error-rate when replicating and have a maximum upper size limit, errors during replication make the virus useless or uncompetitive. To compensate, RNA viruses often have segmented genomes reducing this way the chance that an error in a single-component genome will incapacitate the entire genome.

In contrast, DNA viruses generally have larger genomes because of the high fidelity of their replication enzymes. Single-strand DNA viruses are an exception to this rule, as mutation rates for these genomes can approach the extreme of the ss-RNA virus case.

Genetic mutation


Antigenic shift, or reassortment, can result in novel and highly pathogenic strains of human flu. Viruses undergo genetic change by several mechanisms. These include a process called antigenic shift where individual bases in the DNA or RNA mutate to other bases. Most of these point mutations are “silent”—they do not change the protein that the gene encodes—but others can confer evolutionary advantages such as resistance to antiviral drugs.

Antigenic Shift occurs when there is a major change in the genome of the virus. This can be a result of recombination or reassortment. When this happens with influenza viruses, pandemic might result. RNA viruses often exist as swarms of viruses of the same species but with slightly different genome nucleoside sequences. Such species are a prime target for natural selection.

Segmented genomes confer evolutionary advantages; different strains of a virus with a segmented genome can shuffle and combine genes and produce progeny viruses or offspring that have unique characteristics. This is called reassortment or ‘viral sex’.

Genetic Recombination is the process by which a strand of DNA is broken and then joined to the end of a different DNA molecule. This can occur when viruses infect cells simultaneously. Recombination is common to both RNA and DNA viruses.

Thanks For Reading

Mariarosaria M.

Source: Wikipedia: Virus

Mediterranean Diet and Healthy Eating

Italian Foods

Being Italian it makes very difficult to adjust to any other diet; Italians love their own food and ways they make; unfortunately, the Italian diet has been known for long time as the “spaghetti and meatballs”, lasagna” , “chicken parmesan”, “fettucine alfredo”, etc., to mention some of the most commons, but Italian food is not simply that, and many people now know, especially those who are used to travel or to work in this field, and today with the global internet communication everything becomes more available and easy to find and the world is communicating extensively; local customs, culture and traditions are crossing the oceans and all the barriers and dishes from all other places of the world are exchanged and many times rearranged.

The TV seems to be the major media and vector of transmission, there are so many programs on food and creativity and a variety of creations and recipes from food blogs articles, books and socials networks; today there is certainly an explosion in this field too so it has been with naturopathy and integrative health and because of this, many dishes and  recipes have been adapted to the new wave of wellness and love for the nature, fresh, pure and organic and many company producing organic, fresh and whole food are growing all around the countries and making all of us more interested to foods.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a sort of anti-inflammatory diet and this is the reason why both the American Cancer Society than the American Heart Association have included in their guidelines with limits on grains, I believe; it involves a variety of anti-oxidants and so anti-inflammatory foods as flavonoids and polyphenols, those in fruit and vegetables mainly, healthy grains and spices, lean proteins and healthy fats as oil of olive and olives, and nuts.


Italian Dieting

Going back to the Italian diet as a Mediterranean diet, it is true that many Italian dishes can be unhealthy, but for sure they taste good; the problem with that is due to the way they are cooked mainly, and to some ingredients used eventually, as excess of dairy and fats, of course, all fried and grilled foods or high heat preparations are non-healthy, but, yes, they are the most tasty; occasional they should be okay, slow cooking, boiling, steaming, baking and broiling are for sure the healthiest ways to cook.

If an Italian diets, the diet is mainly light and clean, Italians relay essentially on very simple food, and with diet of course the quantity, doses and frequency of meals are reduced, the condiments very essential and limited, as quantity of oil, salt and any other dressing, and ways to cook the healthiest, but as a Mediterranean  diet, Italian diet does not miss any type of foods other than foods too greasy or fatty, with too many proteins, sugars and eggs, and obviously fried, grilled and junky foods.

Dieting this way and not eating much first of all, people can clean liver and gastrointestinal tract and rebalancing the gut flora, more essentially, they lose weight for not eating much.

The Blood Type Diet

The reason why I personally have been attracted by the blood type diet at the begin of my discover it was for the science behind and the concept of lectins and agglutinations and reasons why foods can cause number of problems in some people but not in others based on blood types, and because mainly for my type this diet has much similarity with the Mediterranean diet, but with more avoidance of type of grains, fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, more restricted for sure.

I totally understand the concept of lectins for the body reacts to those as to any type of antigens and of intolerances to foods and from here of autoimmunity and eventually cancer, or any other disease, especially as Dr. Tom O’Brian so as Dr. Peter D’Adamo, among all the other doctors I follow, emphasizes on regular basis in his articles and public appearances, but for me it has been always very difficult the battle with foods, because I like foods, therefore I try to do my best and to avoid as much as I can bad foods and habits and try to eat clean and healthy and light for the most.

Anti-inflammatory Foods

My preferred foods and those I should eat for my thyroid condition, as nutrient dense, anti-inflammatories and detoxifiers are:

Vegetables of all type, fruit with not much sugar, and legumes which I love, along with salads of any type, soups with herbs and spices, healthy grains pasta with different vegetables or seafood, lean meat and light fish, healthy dessert mainly made with healthy flours, sugars and fats and very occasionally, and dark chocolate, another of my preferred.


Healthy Methods of Cooking

My ways to cook are usually the healthiest, slow cooking, steaming, boiling, backing, and broiling, or sauté’, I do not grill often, I rarely fry and mainly fish, or shrimps, and do not use eggs in the marinate process but only spices and healthy flours.

I like to mix greens and salads with fruits and nuts, or tomatoes and croutons, my marinates for salads are usually red or green onions and lemon, or balsamic vinegar along with extra-virgin oil of olive and salt.

The soups I prefer and cook more often are, vegetable broth, minestrone, lentils-carrots soup, cauliflower, kale, garbanzo, white beans soup, and so on. With every of these soups I use as basic elements like, garlic, onions, basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme, celery, and carrots and other herbs and spices, ginger, and turmeric only in some of them.

I normally cook all ingredients together with water,  carrots, celery and onions, I do not sauté’, only with beans soup I do, I sauté the tomatoes first with garlic, then I add the rinsed beans, and water, celery and parley, and some vegetable broth, I only use vegetable broth or beef broth for roast or stew, I really do not like chicken broth, but I do make chicken soup and in that case I use vegetable broth and water, and usual ingredients mentioned above.

Of course, I love pasta and can cook in a variety of ways, and I am also sometimes inspired from the variety of recipes around so as with other dishes. I try to use different grains, but once in a while I must have my regular pasta, or a “Margherita” pizza, or any other assembled with the usual clean ingredients, tomatoes, and basil and parmesan, and/or other vegetables.


The basic ingredients for my pasta are tomatoes-garlic-basil, or tomatoes-garlic- parsley with seafood, these cooking requires sauté the garlic first in oil, but I try to do a gentle sauté since I only use oil of olive for this type of cooking and which is not an high temperature oil, but only to use for slow cooking and marinating salads; onion instead with some kind of vegetables. For example, I prefer pasta and broccoli with garlic, but pasta and zucchini with onion and basil, with both of these I can use turmeric if I feel.

Turmeric as ginger, or the enzyme bromelain gives as sensation of clean and purity after eating or taking.

I use lots of herbs and healthy spices in the kitchen like, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, mint, thyme, ginger and turmeric when appropriate, and using these is particularly important as we all know, the benefits and functions that have been highlighted recently are countless. I drink a lot of filtered water or sparkling water with lemon, wine occasionally, but in little amount, and green teas.

I am trying to perfecting time by time and day by day ways to eat and lifestyle also for listening the incessant suggestions from providers, the doctors I follow and from all the news in regard of health, adapting some of my dishes and recipes to healthy way of cooking always more, reducing the frequency of the less healthy ways, and eliminating always more foods that I know are not beneficial for me, and in general for everyone.

I guess, this is what most of the people do today, or try to as I do.

Thanks For Reading

Mariarosaria M.

COVID-19, New Founds and Therapeutic Strategies

Current Situation

What the current situation is?

The virus is there, it did not disappear, but our immunity has changed eventually, or many of us were infected and did not even know, or the virus has mutated in a less lethal form, Dr. Michael Murray thinks that we have reached the herd immunity, which means that we have obtained a partial immunity.

However, the cases are continuing, certainly in a moderate number compared to few weeks ago, but it depends from State to State in regard of the United States while in Europe and other country it seems they are increasing again.

The point is, if the infection is still so lethal as it was, and especially for those immunological compromised, or with chronic and inflammatory diseases, and if the therapeutic approaches have improved thanks to the wide-spread research and clinical trials.

In a webinar hosted around a month ago, Dr. Michael Murray, N.D., was mentioning that we are close to an end and that the virulence of the virus has lowered, the virus has mutated and has become more infectious, and this is why probably the surge of new cases and mainly in the areas not hit from the begin, but less lethal. The CDC also seems to agree with the fact that the infectivity of the virus has increased while the lethality decreased.

Dr. Murray was already talking about herd immunity in a previous article and what has been emerging from this is that the reason why many antibodies tests also from people that were affected by COVID are negative for antibodies to the virus it is because the immunity to this virus is not due to the antibodies produced by B-lymphocytes, IgM or IgG, but to the T-memory-cells produced by T-lymphocytes.

From the article:

“Herd Immunity has occurred in selected areas where ~ 20% of population tests positive for antibodies, while 40-60% of population may have partial or complete T-cell immunity.

It looks like that SARS-CoV-2 reactive CD4+ T-cells have been found in 40-60% of unexposed individuals suggesting cross-reactive T-cell recognition between circulating common cold, coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.”

I was personally wondering about cross- reactivity among SARS-CoV-2 and the other coronaviruses from the begin trying to explain to myself why with a pandemic like this and so infectious diseases many of us did not get sick.

Continuing from the article:

“Cell-mediated immunity appears to be the more important adaptive immune response against SARS-CoV-2. Memory T cells are instructed to recognize specific antigens to trigger a faster and stronger immune response after encountering the same antigen, they play a central role in protecting against reinfection.

Recent studies done on different population of people affected or not from the virus have demonstrate that natural exposure to the virus, even if not infection develops, can produce a strong memory T cell response.

In a study, published in Nature on July 15, 2020, researchers first looked at the T cells in COVID-19 recovered patients and they found that these were showing long-lasting memory T cells reactive to various SARS-CoV-2 antigens some of which 100% identical to antigenic proteins found on other SARS-CoV-1.

This indicates that subjects who developed SARS-CoV-1 infection may be immune to SARS-CoV-2.The researchers concluded that prior infection with other coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold, can produce multiple specific and long-lasting T cell effects that impose immunity against not only these viruses, but also to SARS-CoV-2.”

These data obviously justify the existence of cross-reactivity among SARS-CoV-2 and the other Coronaviruses.

In regard instead of what can or not affect the virulence or infectivity of the virus there are of course number of studies and others already proved and validated.

Most common and commented the role of ACE-2 inhibitors, popular lowering blood pressure medications that seem to be a way of facilitation of entrance for the virus instead of a sort of competition due to the fact the virus proteins have affinity for the same receptors to which these drugs bind, but it looks like that ACE-2 inhibitors blocking the receptors lead to an increase in the number of these on the cells increasing this way the number of entrance for SARS-CoV-2.

The gastrointestinal tract, or GI, is another important route for SARS-CoV-2, the virus travels from the gut to the lungs, or other organs, as we know now can infect several area of the body, stomach acid and digestive enzymes have as well important role for immune health.

Proton-Pump-Inhibitors, or PPI, or acid preventing medication are also blamed for increasing the gut route of the coronavirus; tests of validation have been done on animal models.

Digestive enzymes, in particular pancreatic enzymes are part of non-specific resistance to GI infection, proteases like “Serratia Mucolytic Peptidase”, or bromelain are used in vaccine preparation to neutralize viruses.

Dr. Murray was already talking about the benefits of digestive enzymes in previous articles, as much as of the importance of quercetin as ionophore for zinc which is a viral replication inhibitor, as well as about the importance of all the other flavonoids and polyphenols found in fruit and vegetables to support and strength the immune system.

Other factors that may influence or not the infectivity of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 could be the blood type influence or the methylation status of a person, for example, but these factors have been not enough validated, and the comorbidity, or susceptibility, or risk factors, age, and viral load of exposure remain the most documented factors.

The discovers and molecules experimented are several so as the research in course all over the world, among the natural molecules, one of the most approved recently also through clinical trial seems to be the glutathione or GSH- whose precursor is N-acetyl-cysteine or NAC also over mentioned for its mucolytic properties-the most powerful body antioxidant with all its properties and benefits and mainly with detoxification, but recently its antiviral properties have been highlighted even more; it seems from several studies that people with worse course of the disease and fatality have been found with deficit of level of glutathione or GSH as much as of vitamin D levels.

Months ago searching from data from Pub Med I saw  an article of trials done with bromelain, as previously mentioned, bromelain is a digestive enzyme, pretty much used in supplements as digestive aid and even more as anti-inflammatory if taken away from meals; considering the nature of the viral infection and inflammatory  cascade due to the cytokine storm and collateral damages, all the natural molecules with anti-inflammatory principles should be considered. Turmeric, for example, other powerful antioxidant very well-known and with multiple benefits is also used as anti-inflammatory at certain doses.

Other data from Pub Med library were mentioning melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment, and we have already heard about this one more molecule from many other scientists.

This study for example was evaluating the effects of melatonin with COVID-19 pathology mainly expressed as excessive inflammation and immune response that leads to the cytokine storm and consequent respiratory distress syndrome.” Melatonin, as a well-known sleep aid molecule has many more properties as anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative molecule and is protective against the inflammatory damages caused by pathogens. It seems to be effective in critical care patients by reducing vessel permeability, anxiety, and sedation, and, of course, the sleep quality, beneficial for better clinical outcomes for COVID-19 patients.”

Another study was analyzing the role of complement activation in COVID-19. The researchers summarize current knowledge about the interaction of coronaviruses with the complement system. They postulate that: “1) coronaviruses activate multiple complement pathways, 2) severe COVID-19 clinical features often resemble pathologies by complement, 3) the combined effects of complement activation, dysregulated neutrophilia, endothelial injury, and hypercoagulability are all characteristics that lead to the severity of COVID-19, 4) a subset of patients with COVID-19 may have a genetic predisposition associated with complement dysregulation, 5) these observations create a basis for clinical trials of complement inhibitors in life-threatening illness.”

The complement for sure is a component to take in consideration in any inflammatory process, and, of course, besides the well known antiviral drugs in use as remdesivir, or hydroxycloroquinine and few others, it seems that also a variety of drugs for autoimmune diseases are working pretty well considering the type of damage created from this virus so as corticosteroids medications. Convalescent plasma from people recovered from COVID-19 also seems to have been used and considered more extensively lately.

Let’s do not forget of the crucial importance of vitamin C also used in critical cases in high doses and vitamin A as well as of vitamin D besides the variety of antiviral herbs now present in the most of the complex for immune support, or therapies like hydrogen peroxide nebulization and ozone therapy, discussed lately from naturopaths as ways to kill microorganisms in general.

Winter is coming and so the influenza season for it is better for all of us continuing to support our immune system and continuing to follow the other common recommendations.

Thanks for Reading

Mariarosaria M.


Dr. Michael Murray, N.D. Webinar and Most Recent Articles on COVID-19

Pub Med Library