Tuesday, 7 April 2020

An Engineer’s Take on SARS-CoV-2 Towards a Solution


In general, viruses that cohabit in our bodies have a high-temperature limit.  Often, the limit is higher than our core temperature of 37 0C, and so for a while, we co-exist. If they cause trouble, our body reacts by putting our immune systems in action.  One response is to increase our body temperature, usually by a few degrees. In some cases, the body temperature goes too high to above 40 0C, putting us in a jeopardy. We start cooking at that temperature.

But we can tolerate relatively high temperatures (43.2 0C) very locally, such as our hands when we wash dishes and themselves many times a day. We eliminate rhinovirus causing the common cold at about 38.5 0C, influenza a little higher.  Coronavirus seems similar as most people escape with symptoms of a bad cold.  The exception is that it clogs the lungs of some people.  Young people have the advantage of higher core temperatures and more active immune systems.  By heating certain critical locations causing a micro fever where the viruses recreate, we can eliminate them.  

I took a long way around to get there. For several years now I have used heat to eliminate colds and flu.  I also used over the counter pills and syrups to suppress the effects of colds.   
I first use hot baths and eventually measured my core temperature. I submerged myself in water, heated to the limit of my tolerance (about 41.6 0C) and found my core temperature rose to about 39 0C. This temperature is sufficient to demolish the bug.  In the last few years, I have instead used heating pads to heat my chest and throat. Then I started reading about colds and flu and found that most colds were caused by the cold viruses incubating in the nasal passages.
I found that lying down
is easier and less work.

So this is where I applied my heating pad. This works fine. I apply the heating pad holding it tight against my nose, eyebrows to tip, one side at a time, for about 10 to 15 minutes each side. I also found this process would clear my sinuses in my forehead and cheeks. Similarly, it also worked on my sore throat and chest as mentioned above. This process was much easier to apply than a hot uncomfortable bath. Colds went away overnight and the damage caused by the virus over the next few days.  I believe that I can’t completely get rid of all of the viruses but I sufficiently damage the reproduction process and environment to an extent that the body immune systems can finish the job.

I have recently been very interested in SARS-CoV-2.  I am in the old category and most vulnerable. After detection, the symptoms soon appear.  The incubation time is about 5-6 days during which the virus spreads vigorously. In young people, it seems to be less destructive, but with older people, even if they are on ventilators, their life expectancy is not good.  Some people survive and some don’t.  Older people have weaker immune systems and lower core temperature. This raises the question, “does half a degree make that much difference?”

If you look at the morphology of cold viruses, they seem in general to prefer to incubate in a temperature 33-36 0C range. This is approximately the mean temperature of the nasal passage, per reports, and frontal sinus by my crude measurement. The viruses also seem to like moist surfaces.  When we expel breath out we moisten the air channel from lungs to the nose.  You can see the mini cloud formation on cold days. Every breath you take conveys the viruses out into the free air and the lungs.
The viruses also seem to have similar upper limits because people do survive core temperatures of 40 0C.  So it seems that if the prime areas can be heated to a range of 41-42 0C the virus would be corrupted. If you look at the data, viruses seem to stop being effective at an accelerating rate as the temperature rises to their demise limit.  As mentioned above, some viruses are highly active at 36 0C and gone at 38.5 0C.

I checked the heating capabilities of my newest heating pad; the highest surface temperature I can heat my nose and sinuses to was 41 0C.  I was able to do this by using a double thickness.  The heating pad just sitting on a pillow will heat to about 60 0C but as soon as I apply it to my face, it immediately drops to about 39 0C. It has a very low heat mass and takes about 5 minutes held on my forehead to reach the highest temperature. The nose takes a little longer. I experimented a little on finding the best way to hold the heating pad in place. I found the easiest position is lying down is less tiring as your hand can be supported. For this application, a normal 12”x 12” rather than the King size I use is sufficient. Sufficient pressure must be applied to close the air passage at the nose tip.

I have had rheumatoid arthritis for over 30 years and have been able to keep it in remission using heating pads. The older pads have hots spots and could cause burning, but the new type of pads have solved that problem.  They must have sensors and a feedback system to keep the temperature under control. They don’t burn the skin easily. From an engineering point of view, it would be good to know the heat conductivity of flesh and bone but at a guess, it is similar to water. So it takes a little time to heat parts of my face to a useful depth. I have found that by holding the heating pad in place, using my hand, takes about 10 to 15 minutes at each location.  I keep the heat on my throat until the pain goes away.  On my lungs, I heat both my chest and back for about an hour each.  If I have waited too long to heed the cold warning signals I may have to repeat the process a few days later.

There are many parameters to be checked to formalize this procedure, temperature sensitively, heat transfer rate, in situ effects on the virus and immune system, to name a few.  I know this is not the magic pill but you can look at it as radiation treatment on the infra-red spectrum, home remedy style.  I believe that by damaging the virus at the primary breeding areas my immune system will be sufficient to finish the job.

In product design, the first stage is to gather information, set goals and limitation and define the product’s critical  and non-critical functions. The next step is to explore possible paths to a solution. It is good design practice to pole people from different disciplines for their perspectives. My approach here is to look at a virus weakness that can be exploited. I wrote to a variety of people and organizations but have received only robotic replies.  Hence this note has migrated to my blog to see if there is any interest. Although I am a Doctor, I’m the wrong kind and have limited credibility.  My solution here is very simple and easy to apply. The cost of the necessary equipment is approximately $40. If this works the results are catastrophic in a good sense.

If I contracted COVID 19, the above is what I would do. But if some other person tries this, I will only take responsibility if it is successful in adding some control over this awful virus. Call it the AlanR treatment. Please let me know if you try this and your results.  My gift.
Alan Robb



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