As of March 5, 2020, there were 98,067 reported cases of novel coronavirus infections affecting 88 countries and territories, 80,430 of which were in China. Worldometer.info provides an easy overview of confirmed cases and deaths that you can check for the latest statistics.1 Also, as of March 5, 2020, there were 11 deaths reported in the U.S., 10 in Washington state and one in California.2
As of March 5, 2020, of the 3,356 reported deaths, 3,013 were in China, predominantly in the Hubei Province in and around Wuhan City, which is ground zero for the outbreak. The virus was initially labeled 2019-nCOV before being renamed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization.3
COVID-19 — An Escaped Bioweapon?
According to bioweapons expert Francis Boyle, whom I recently interviewed on this topic, the evidence suggests COVID-19 is a weaponized coronavirus4 originating from the Biosafety Level 4 facility in Wuhan City. It's the first BSL-4 facility in China, and was set up specifically to research coronavirus and SARS.
He describes COVID-19 as a chimera consisting of SARS (an already weaponized coronavirus), HIV genetic material and influenza virus, designed with so-called "gain of function" properties that allow it to spread a greater distance than normal.
It can travel 6 to 7 feet through the air, and some reports suggest the virus can shed that distance from contaminated human feces as well. Others have suggested COVID-19 may involve Prevotella,5,6,7 a bacterium known to cause respiratory tract infections, including pneumonia, and that this may explain some of the observed symptoms and how it can spread through feces.
The Bacteriophage Hypothesis
Bacteriophages — viruses that infect and reproduce inside bacteria, like a parasite — have been implicated "in the progression and maintenance of at least some pathologies, including those associated with protein misfolding," according to one 2018 paper, which further notes:8
"Here, for the first time, we propose the concept of bacteriophages as human pathogens. We suggest that bacterial viruses have different ways to directly and indirectly interact with eukaryotic cells and proteins, leading to human diseases."
In a February 2020 paper,9 Sandeep Chakraborty, a bioinformatics core member at UC Davis,10 notes that Prevotella "is present (sometimes in huge amounts) in patients from two studies in China and one in Hong Kong."
He goes on to cite RNA sequencing data11 from Wuhan, China, published January 25, 2020, showing "millions of reads of Prevotella proteins" amid a few thousand COVID-19 viruses. Yet the researchers make no mention of the Prevotella in their paper. Prevotella bacteria was also found in six COVID-19 patients from the same family in Hong Kong.12
"These are the three studies I could find," Chakraborty writes.13 "But the clinching evidence is the presence of the same integration point of nCov and Prevotella in Study 1 and Study 2.
Moreover, detection of the nCoV can be made very spec[f]ic by looking for a 500bp in the spike protein, which would be a good candidate for vaccine development, protein-inhibition and diagnosis (which was non-specific for SARS in many cases, including the CDC test). And, since this is now DNA, the standard detection tests using RT-PCR, which looks for RNA is having large false negatives."
While this connection needs further verification and validation, it's an interesting finding that could be significant if true. From a treatment standpoint, it could indicate that antibiotic drugs might be useful, and for prevention, probiotics, prebiotics and/or sporebiotics might play an important role.
There's still a lot we don't know about COVID-19, and if it did escape from Wuhan City's BSL-4 facility, they're not giving out any details about it that might help health care workers figure out an effective treatment plan.
While vitamin C treatment is one avenue under investigation, and wearing medical-grade face masks is the route many have taken to avoid infection, taking steps to strengthen your immune function is likely one of your most important prevention strategies. I review several of these strategies below.