Balance of Nature in the eradication of COVID-19, future variants and pandemics
Elias Hakalehto, PhD, Adj. Prof.
CEO, Finnoflag Oy
Vice President, International Society of Environmental Indicators
Published on 21st of August, 2021
We live in a world whose land surface is over 50% under the direct influence of humans. More than 1/3 of the arable land surface is in the agricultural use. However, it is said that 70% of the original substances and ideas for different pharmaceuticals have been derived from the Amazonas rainforests.
Our natural environment could provide means for sustainable health and novel medicines. They need to be discovered, as the work is carried out in thousands of R&D laboratories. Using plants and animals and their molecules for medications has always been studied in universities and pharmaceutical industries.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated in an interview by ABC News Channel on 2nd of August that the nasopharyngeal tract of the non-symptomatic or mildly symptomatic vaccinated carriers of COVID-19 could contain as many infective viral particles as the corresponding epithelia of the diseased patients. This is one feature of the delta variant, which now has spread in many countries and become the dominant strain.
During the cause of the current pandemics, Dr Fauci has often given clear warnings and instructions about the advisable measures. However, this time he insists that we need to prevail precautions with the COVID-19. Earlier, it has been proven out that the protective masks, depending on their kind, could diminish the likelihood of contagion to 1/6 on average.
Other new variants are emerging, such as lambda, which has become the dominant version in Peru. It has spread to other South American countries, is more resistant to vaccinations, and has shown up in Europe and Japan. A delta type variant has just been reported in Uppsala, Sweden (E484Q). This has so far infected 8 people.
The protection of the respiratory tract is of crucial importance. The fatal consequences of COVID-19 relate in 2/3 of the cases to the obstruction of airways, whereas 1/3 of the acute dangers are associated with excessive reactivity of the immune system in the key junctions of the blood circulation. The "long corona" is another story.
Dr Fauci's warning this month implies the need for complementary protection of the epithelial respiratory membranes, besides the active immunization by vaccines. The NIH (National Institute of Health) neuroscientists have suggested using miniantibodies obtained from llamas (Esparza et al., High-affinity nanobodies block SARS-CoV 2 spike receptor-binding domain interaction with the human angiotensin-converting enzyme. Scientific Reports, December 22, 2020). Other sources of these health-promoting molecules are sharks and camels. In the Max Planck Institute (homepage on 27th of July, 2021), research is presented on the potentials on the miniantibodies of the alpacas.
Specifically, the avian egg-yolk antibodies could offer epithelial protection also for humans. In April 2021, my article was published in the IMAJ (Israeli Medical Association Journal) on the topic "Chicken IgY antibodies provide a mucosal barrier against SARS-CoV-2 virus and other pathogens" (a Minireview). It is noteworthy that the avian IgY antibodies resemble human IgA and arrange into a protective position on the human membranes.
In the shadow of the emerging virus variants, we need to pay attention also to the complications caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These dangerous forms could benefit from the damages caused to the human epithelial membranes by the viral pathogens and the immune system's lowered effectivity mitigated by the COVID-19.
Now it is high time to consider the natural sources provided by the ecosystems to protect their members. For example, the condor on the sky in the Andies does not meet viruses from outside as the UV light eliminates the pathogens. But as it lands down, its immune system is challenged immediately. So to protect the next generation, the Mother bird is producing antibodies to the egg yolk. - Similarly, it is all-natural for many mammals and fishes to produce extra immunological protection. These sources could be used for passive immunization of humans, too.
If we keep supporting the ecosystem, it will bounce back. The fountains of health and novel pharmaceutical products will spring. However, we need to avoid destroying the habitats of such animals as bats, which could act as intermediary hosts in spreading the germs. If the infested animals fly around seeking new grounds, it dramatically increases the likelihood of viruses disseminating. After all, sustainability is a simple matter of choices.
Just two weeks ago, the first West African Marburg virus case in humans was recorded in Guinea. Two years ago, scientists from the CDC identified the Marburg virus in bat colonies in Sierra Leone. The human incidence of Marburg is on top of the related Ebola virus. Earlier, the CDC scientists found that 2.5 per cent of 435 Egyptiantte fruit bats tested from four districts in Sierra Leone tested positive for the Marburg virus.
The societies must provide the health personnel with novel and additional methods for protection. They will be most needed in the coming Autumn and Winter season. We have to support those who stand on the guard for better health prospects.