Pathogenesis of COVID-19 remains unknown as research continues. What is known is that the virus is the novel enveloped RNA beta coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which is phylogenetically similar to SARS-CoV. Despite the number of deaths, COVID-19 at the moment appears to have a lower fatality rate than SAR-CoV or MERS-CoV (because it is still unknown just how many people are infected- there is no way to test everyone). Also, evidence is growing that Covid-19 is not presenting with the typical ARDS seen in other respiratory viral infections.
WHAT IS HEMOGLOBIN? It is a globular protein (made up of four polypeptide chains attached to four heme groups) found in red blood cells (RBC) that is vital for oxygen transport. The heme group is composed of a porphyrin-iron complex that binds to oxygen, which is vital for our bodies to function.
how anti-malarial drugs work to treat malaria
Chloroquine acts against the Plasmodium parasites, which cause malaria, during it’s asexual intra-erythrocytic phase. These parasites feed on hemoglobin to survive. They digest the hemoglobin and produce toxic byproducts (Ferriprotoporphyrin IX and free radicals), which they then detoxify for their use [Chloroquine prevents this detoxification by increasing the pH within the acidic food vacuole of the parasite, causing the accumulation of toxins which kill the parasite].
ALL CORONAVIRUSES HAVE A SURFACE GLYCOPROTEIN- it is believed that this protein binds to the host receptor (ACE2r) for viral entry into the host (humans and animals) with the aid of a lysosomal protease. ACE2r receptors are found on mature lung epithelial cells, intestinal cells, kidney tubular and endothelial cells.
anti-malarial drugs and coronavirus
Antimalarial drugs are believed to block or interrupt the action of the lysosomal protease, thereby preventing the virus from entering these cells.
Some other proteins of SARS-CoV-2 are ORF8, ORF1ab, ORF10, ORF3a. Current theory is that these proteins along with the surface viral glycoprotein can bind to porphyrin (ORF8) or attack heme to dissociate the iron (ORF1ab, ORF10, ORF3a), which then decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin. This would explain why there is organ failure. Thus, we have a combination of hypoxia and hypoxemia wreaking havoc in the body.
zinc may aid in the fight against coronavirus
Zinc has long been known to inhibit viral replication, which I have been taking whenever I felt the first signs of a cold coming for many years now. However, always discuss with your primary physician before taking any medication or supplements. Of course I never really delved into the research until this Covid-19 pandemic.
what does this all mean?
If there is decreased oxygenation due to the disruption of the heme-iron bond so vital for red blood cells to transport oxygen, it may explain why there is organ failure and why despite being placed on a ventilator a significant percentage of patients are dying from Covid-19. Despite supplying oxygen, red blood cells are struggling to carry this oxygen to the vital organs because their oxygen carrying capacity has been destroyed by the coronavirus.