Corona - How medical science can be helped
A desperate situation
March 22, 2020: I am on the plane from Tenerife to Germany. The air is clear and I have a magnificent view over Gran Canaria below me. I wonder when and how I will see them again, the “Happy Islands”.
The taxi driver, who took me to the airport this morning (as only one person per car is allowed now, even couples need to travel separately), said when I asked him whether he probably wouldn't have many transports left in this time? – “None at all”.
Currently, apart from the staff working in grocery stores and pharmacies, the whole of Spain is at home. Policemen and soldiers guard roads and streets to enforce the lockdown, if necessary.
These community isolation measures are initially scheduled for 15 days, but could remain for months. "Flatten the Curve" is the motto to stop the spreading of SARS-CoV-2 as far as possible, as long as the danger of the novel virus cannot yet be properly assessed and effectively countered.
In the article "Liberty for Health" we (Thorsten Krüger & Kora Klapp) examined the facts as far as they are known in interdisciplinary science, and found that:
- isolation from social contacts
- insecurity and fear throughout the entire population
- limitation or prohibition of physical exercise outdoors
- the enforced removal of people’s livelihoods without hope for proper compensation
these factors have extremely negative effects on our health. Especially when one important factor for "salutogenesis" is not given: although the restrictive measures seem understandable and at first sight also meaningful, they are not manageable - not over longer periods of time.
In some way, natural herd immunity must have a chance to develop through trickle-infection – because according to experts like German top virologist Prof Christian Drosten, the development of a new vaccine will take many months or even years.
Initiating herd immunity
The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte wants to take a different path for his country than Spain: being aware that the virus will spread, it is important to ensure that the best possible medical and other care is available while not shutting down his whole country. Sweden, too, does (to this date) not close its borders and public life. In addition to the protection of risk groups, measures should be adapted to the needs, states Anders Tegnell from the Swedish Health Authority. We share this view and wish to contribute to its effectiveness with a targeted plan.
There is a lack of scientific data on the behaviour of SARS-CoV-2. It is known that the majority of infections lead to rather mild symptoms of a cold, but it can also penetrate into the deep layers of the lungs and cause dramatic inflammation, which can lead to death. This can be expected if the respiratory or circulatory systems are already weakened, or if there is an imbalance in the lung microbiome. But some young and seemingly healthy people have also been affected by an adverse course of the disease. Why? We lack data.
Gaining two birds with one stone
There are parts of the population (such as myself) that are willing to face natural infection, because we feel healthy and well-prepared. The problem for the society is how to stay in maximum control of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, while also protecting risk groups? This is where our idea comes in:
If the infection and subsequent isolation took place in closed rooms and under medical supervision, the cases of disease could be controlled plus the infected persons would subsequently be immune and thus harmless to their environment. They would then be able to resume their normal lives and care for others without risk.
Closed spaces such as cruise ships and large ferries, for example, would even provide the opportunity to carry out studies, in which the persons to be infected could be examined in detail for preconditions, the course of the disease and suitable therapies. Participation could be an offer for very healthy, fit people, so that the risk of additional strain on medical staff and resources is very small. Once the infection has subsided, the immune system of these people would also have antibodies to which medicine has easy access.
Insights for Psycho-Neuro-Immunology
In the international META-Health network we are familiar with many methods to strengthen the immune system naturally, i.e. using mindfulness and mind-body measures to reduce symptoms and to increase health and quality of life. Such methods for salutogenesis could be taught to participants of the controlled voluntary infection experiment, and there could be control groups, so we can imagine that scientists will show interest in conducting studies in psycho-neuro-immunology.
In the context of a "Corona Retreat" or a "Corona Cruise", participants can make their contribution to public health. If this initiative is successfully trialled, controlled and responsibly managed, it could subsequently be replicated on a wider scale. Results could lead to new insights into how people can increase their resilience to new viruses. Restrictive measures could be eased.
Resources at our disposal
At present many cruise ships lie unused.
The same applies to resorts and holiday clubs. These are suitable for the pleasant isolation of groups. Even people belonging to "at risk" groups could be offered to take a pleasant holiday with full board in their own hotel room, being taken care of by responsible staff.
I would be delighted if these ideas "spread virally" and lead to the cooperation of scientists, shipowners, sponsors, health coaches and volunteers, so that the World will get over the peak as soon as possible and without a global trauma!
Then I could see my beloved Canary Islands again next winter without sorrow for their lost happiness.
In this document the above sketched project is described in more detail by Thorsten Krüger, pharmacist and free scientist: Corona - a public health initiative.pdf