Tuesday 23 November 2021

A mechanical engineers version of a Colds, including flu and COVID-19 Morphology (Revision 1)

I have tried several versions of this diagram and this is the best of the lot.  There are  problems because of the many variables. So I have divided the life cycle of colds into five stages where obvious changes occur. The life cycle goes from left to right, stages 0 to 5, as you will note the vertical dotted lines and at the bottom of the graph, the stage.

In stage 0, is where I’m stalled and now have been vaccinated 3 times.  I hope to stay there.  Others are not so lucky. The rules are that avoid close encounters, crowds, and wear at least some form of a mask.  I’ve included reference 7 on this topic. My wife is immune-compromised and by default so am I.

In the graph, the most important items are the response curves and their total response lines. The latter is the red solid and dotted lines closest to the horizontal axis, the sum of the red and blue line responses. I should have used orange.

Stage 1 is one of the variables, the density and duration time of exposure.  Infected people that are shedding viruses form a small aerosol cloud in front of them. The cloud is reinforced at leased every breath they release, about 16 times a minute. It is like a cloud of smoke you can’t see or smell. How close you get to a source and how long you stay there, will determine the rate of virus replication. Low, Medium, and High.

Stage 2  seems to take 1 to 4 days. The rate of virus replication is staggering.  I haven’t put scale values on the vertical axis below or above the horizontal axis. But the units go something like this, 1000, 100,000, 10,000,000, 109, etc.  Symptoms such as fever, coughing, extra mucus. You know the list. Meanwhile, the adaptive system is detecting the intruder and developing antibodies targeted to eliminate them.

Stage 2-3  the treatment I promote should be applied when the symptoms have been determined.   Sooner is better than later to minimize the amount of damage. It can be argued that a later response will build up your immunity but why would you risk the loss of taste and smell, damage to your sinuses, etc.

Stage 3, The production of antibodies is a high response most of the time. But viruses have had a head start and therefore some catching up is needed by antibody production. The net effect is shown between the solid red and dashed lines just below the horizontal axis. When the rate of antibody production is greater that than the rate of virus replication then the cold duration is only 7 to 11 days roughly.  This is at the first blue and red vertical dotted lines. 

Stage 4, But if the development of antibodies is a weak response, (the lower red dashed line), and the virus is stopped, (the vertical red dashed line) because there are no more cells to corrupt, then the cold continues in stage 4. I can only speculate what happens in this last stage. I think this is where shortness of breath starts.  Several things are starting or pending. If you are lucky it all stops here. The viruses can’t survive in the higher temperature and humidity in the lungs, nor can they survive the demolition process in the digestion system. So it must be bacteria part of the immune system defense has been destroyed in the nasal cavity and the pharynx, nose, and throat.  Not a good place to be.

 That is the best that I can do. It is a little complicated. How can this be used? If you have a fever, that seems to be the first line of defense.  They have tested on mice and found that when you let nature prevail and don’t take fever depressants your survival chances are much greater. Researchers use special mice that mimic our responses. What is interesting to me is the response curves or net effect. If you have a high mean temperature and metabolic rate you are likely in the 95 - 99% that will survive. Your immune response curve will be steeper and the cold will stop sooner.

What worries me is how close the response are.  Even if you have vaccination and you still get the virus your starting point for the blue line starts much sooner and thus you are still a way ahead of the virus. Stage 2 is shortened and the net response is much less and the cold stops sooner.  It should be noted the diagram will be different for everyone.  It can be generalized to fit a population but that is a big job and you must have access to the data.

The last point is that the red lines stop when the treatment is applied.  Pharmaceutical companies are working on pills and aerosols now, that will essentially do the same as the heat treatment. I’m partial to my generic solution.

Alan Robb, PhD, Engineer

P.S.  I am not the first person using heat to stop colds in the upper respiratory tract.  One of the earliest was David Tyrrell in 1989 and more recently Marc Cohen in 2020. They should have been include in the original list.  I've added the latter two to my references attached.  

Comment:  To my knowledge I'm the only one suggesting blocking the nose and applying surface heat.

Some References  (revised 02- Nov 23/21)

1.    - Why is temperature sensitivity important for the success of common respiratory        viruses?                       Eccles R.,      Rev Med Virol. 2020;e02153.

                  https://doi.org/10. 1002/rmv.2153

     2.   -Body temperature and host species preferences of SARS-CoV-2.

        Uzoigwe, Chika         Edward   https://www.clinicalmicrobiologyandinfection.com/article/S1198-743X(20)30424-9/pdf

3.   -The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS                        coronavirus,    K. H. Chan, et al,        https://www.hindawi.com/journals/av/2011/734690/

4.   -Role of fever and ambient temperature in COVID-19

               Muhammad Hamdan Gul,a Zin Mar Htun,b and Asad Inayat

5.   -Animal and translational models of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID19                M. D.     Johansen1, et al,    

          Mucosal Immunology (2020) 13:877–891;


 6.  -Fever and the thermal regulation of immunity: the immune system feels the heat 

           Sharon S. EvansElizabeth A. Repasky, and Daniel T. Fisher HHS Author      Manuscripts   PMC4786079

7.  Protective Facemask Impact on Human Thermoregulation: An Overview

  Raymond J. Roberge*, Jung-Hyun Kim and Aitor Coca


 8. Local Hyperthermia benefits natural and experimiental common colds

        David Tyrrell, Ian Barrow, James Arthur

        BMJ 002231-0020  1989

 9.  Turning up the heat on COVID-19: heat as a therapeutic intervention[version 2; approved]

          Marc Cohen,   Extreme wellness Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia


10.  Literature Review of the Effect of Temperature and Humidity on Viruses
       Farhad Memarzadeh, PhD, PE