Even after all this time, bad explanations – fake news and myths – are being spread in Social media about COVID-19.
One of the more pernicious is the accusation that the hypoxia caused by COVID-19 isn’t due to pneumonia or ARDS. Oh, no, instead, there’s a “secret, ” new mechanism for the morbidity and mortality caused by COVID-19. The theory is based on the fact that one of the complications in the sickest COVID-19 patients, as well as earlier SARS1 and MERS patients, is increased coagulation that causes lots of tiny blood clots in the tiniest blood vessels in all the organs if the body. We’ve known for quite a while that viruses cause inflammation, causing the body to inappropriately produce antibodies against proteins called phospholipids. These antibodies attack the platelets and red blood cells, causing blood clots.
Last night I was referred to what my Facebook friend, a non-physician, called “one of the more detailed links” on the research. I would hate to see the others.
Right at the top of the page is this disclaimer: “”Anyone can publish on Medium per our Policies, but we don’t fact-check every story. For more info about the coronavirus, see cdc.gov.'” Good advice.
The author the blog post isn’t identified except by a pseudonym and avatar. While he does admit that he’s not a doctor, we aren’t given a real name, much less a profession or qualifications and clicking on the avatar yeilds no information. There’s not even a link or citation for the origin of the “scientific” quote upon which he bases his entire premise.
(In contrast, a quick Google search, “Coronavirus red blood cell iron,” yeilds an article,“Debunking the hemoglobin story,”
by a man who not only gives his name, he also describes his credentials, a seven (7) year MD/Ph.D program in hematology. He tells us he is writing with two other, *named,* Ph.Ds. Dr. Armdahl is worth reading for more detail than I give, here.)
The pseudonymous author has a brand new explanation for the hypoxia due to COVID-19: the virus supposedly breaks iron free from the hemoglobin molecule in red blood cells (RBC), poisoning the cells so they can’t carry oxygen. That is proposed as the cause of hypoxia, low oxygen, that leads to the need for increased oxygen and ventilation, as well a being responsible for the damage to organs other than the lungs.
The first author describes the virus “attacking” the red blood cell (RBC) with a “glycoprotein ” produced by the virus. He’s apparently unaware that the RBC does not have a nucleus or the cellular apparatus to produce proteins, much less copies of viruses. That’s a dead end for that virus particle and for any virus that does work that doesn’t enable reproduction.
Further, where is the evidence that these glycoproteins exist in the blood or bone marrow (where RBCs are produced) in concentrations that are significant? Where are the measurements of these mythical glycoproteins , any free iron or the RBCs containing free iron?
Why would there be a “secret?” ***What would be the purpose of the medical community ignoring a valid explanation of the etiology for morbidity and mortality due to SARS-CoV-2? *** The hematologists would be all over this.
The pseudonymous writer isn’t happy with promoting fake physiology and function of the RBC. He also displays his ignorance of the fact that we’ve known at keast since 2007 that the proper treatment for ARDS is low, not high, tidal volume ventilation. More important still, are personalized ventilator settings. More information, here.
If I may make a suggestion, when you come across a story that interests you and that seems new and significant – especially if it’s outside your area if expertise – don’t just share it. I suggest that you do a search looking for evidence that it’s false, as well as evidence that it’s true. Test the story!