Coronavirus a red blood cell disease, not lungs: new study
April 11, 2020 08:59 AM
Most doctors in the U.S. and all across the world have been treating coronavirus primarily as a lung disease.
According to investor Mike Coudrey, a new study has found that it is not the lungs that are tiring out but rather the inability of red blood cells of carrying oxygen throughout the body that is causing organ failure.
The findings of the study have led some doctors to question whether it is time to explore new ways of treating coronavirus in the near-term, Coudrey said.
Dr. Cameron Kyle-Sidell, who works in an intensive care unit in New York stated: “Our therapies are not working. Our ventilators are not able to give enough oxygen. Some are questioning whether this is a lung disease causing blood problems or a blood disease causing lung problems. I don’t know what it is but I know that I’ve never seen it before. People are dying of a disease that we do not understand…They are dying of a diseases that does not make sense to us. A disease for which our usual treatment does not fit.”
One of the three main symptoms of coronavirus alongside fever and dry cough is shortness of breath. Coudrey explained that coronavirus is causing prolonged and progressive hypoxia, which starves the human body of oxygen.
As the virus binds to hemoglobin found in red blood cells, it releases oxidative iron ion from the cells. The lack of iron ion prevents hemoglobin from binding to oxygen, disallowing red blood cells from operating normally.
He said: “It is very likely that this is more the case, rather than developing a form of ARDS or pneumonia. Many doctors are starting to believe that they are operating under a false notion of pneumonia, & possibly treating the wrong symptoms on a systematic basis throughout the country.”
While ventilators have been critical in treating serious cases of coronavirus, Coudrey added that if the lungs are not the root problem of the disease, it may not be sufficient in treating coronavirus patients.
Coudrey emphasized: “Ventilators may not be treating the root cause, as many of the patient’s lungs aren’t ‘tiring out’, they’re pumping just fine. It is instead that the affected hemoglobin have been stripped of their ability to carry oxygen, resulting in hypoxia.”
So What’s The Treatment?
The new findings suggest that ventilators can provide oxygen to patients but it does not prevent organ failures occurring from the lack of iron ion in red blood cells. If the immune system of a coronavirus patient does not combat the virus by itself, ventilators may not be enough to help with the recovery.
In such a case, Coudrey said that the only way to treat serious cases of coronavirus is through “delivering oxygen or a transfusion of red blood cells.”
One of the drugs that could help with the boost of red blood cells is hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that has been used in the U.S. in the past two weeks to treat coronavirus. Since malaria also interferes with red blood cells, the study discovered that the disruption in the cells could be cured with hydroxychloroquine.
He added: “Hydroxychloroquine is also used for malaria, a pathogen that also interferes with the red blood cells. Malaria uses host hemoglobin as its food source.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and major Swiss pharma giants have said that a coronavirus vaccine is unlikely to be produced within the next 12 to 18 months.
With the coronavirus pandemic worsening day after day and some regions like Japan starting to see an increase in new cases, the exploration of new treatments could be essential in containing the virus.