By CLEMENT E. ANYIWO, MD and Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Specializing in Infectious Diseases. Former Dean/Provost of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, College of Health Sciences, Nnewi, Nigeria, and was President, Federation of African Immunological Societies. This is his first commentary as a contributing Editor of USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica magazine *print edition.
As the world ushered in the year 2020, little did we know that it would be accompanied by a new infectious agent that would decimate humanity in so short a time.
Could it be that it was following the trail that there must be a pandemic every 100 years! (Bubonic plague,1720: Cholera outbreak,1820; Spanish flu,1920 and now COVID-19, 2020) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) nCov2 or 2019-nCov is thze novel strain of Coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China in December, 2019 and causes a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) called COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation.
It is an animal virus that is transmitted via aerosols, fomites, and droplets. This novel virus was isolated by Chinese scientists from patients. Like all coronaviruses it has the inherent potential of high mutation rate thus making this zoonotic pathogen to adapt and become more efficiently transmitted from person to person, possibly more virulent and has now spread throughout the world causing a pandemic. There is a widespread speculation that SARS-nCov – the coronavirus that is causing COVID-19 is a chimera, that is, a cocktail of 3 viruses: SARS bat virus, Wuhan virus and HIV, genetically modified and weaponized to make it more harmful. A question that comes to mind is this: If it is not so why are anti-HIV drugs; Remdesivir, Lopinavir and Ritonavir listed as trial drugs for COVID-19 in China? Your guess is as good as mine. This is by the way.
Coronaviruses are a large family of enveloped RNA viruses, identified in the 1960s which may cause illness in animals (birds, bats, dogs etc.) or humans( Figure 1) In humans several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from common cold to more severe disease such as SARS and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) Symptomatology includes high temperature, dry cough, sore throat, headache, and difficulty in breathing.
Both the WHO and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have recommended measures for prevention, mitigation, and containment. These include basic personal hygiene, social distancing, and limited travels. As of today, there are neither specific treatment nor vaccine. Both are still at trial stages. However, there have been reports of treatment successes with a combination of hydroxy chloroquine, Azithromycin, and zinc which facilitates the transport of quinine into the cells. Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin have cured COVID-19 patients based on the study of a French medical scientist, Dr. Didier Raoult. This was supported by more than 6000 scientists and infectious diseases experts in 30 countries. The vaccines must be experimented on mice and monkeys or rats and rabbits and even in chimpanzees, based on protocols, for safety and efficacy before coming to human beings.
As of today, April 23, 2020 the figures of case and mortality are as follows: Global: 2,714,942; 190,395,297. United States: 878,974; 49,754 and Africa: 26,083 and 1,227. Unfortunately, the United States is leading the world this time in the pandemic, having received the baton from China through Italy. Africa is at the rear.
Figure 1. Coronavirus (Artist’s impression, Courtesy Bing.com/images)
Despite the fact that we now know the cause of the disease, how it is spread, its symptoms and how to protect ourselves, it appears that the fear of contacting the Coronavirus- the cause of COVID-19, is more contagious than the disease itself.
According to Andrew Cuomo- the Governor of New York State, which is now the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, “the panic is more dangerous than the virus as people act on fears and not on facts”. In my opinion this fear is generated by overwhelming information on Coronavirus from every Tom, Dick and Harry. Everybody now is either a Public Health Consultant or Infectious Diseases Expert. At times this information is confusing, contradictory or even false.
One of such reports is the conspiracy theory surrounding 5G (fifth generation). Radiation physicists tell us that 5G is a telecommunication radioactive network with a transmission at far higher frequency than its predecessor, 4G ( 20X stronger) and implies transmission of greater quantum of energy ( wave signal) and a higher resolution. The 5G is said to be used in facilitating what is called The Internet of Things when machines communicate with each other and with people, connect many devices to the Internet, power drone and security services, self-driving car and even perform remote surgery.
The aspect of the revelations of what 5G can do that has caused so much of panic and paranoia is its effect on human health. It says that 5G generated Coronavirus and with its extremely high frequency causes cell poisoning as effect of radiation when it reacts with the human cells and weakens our immune systems making us more vulnerable to coronavirus infection. This is still unproven, and it will remain so until medicine, which I still maintain is an incomplete and therefore still evolving science, proves otherwise. The 5G radio waves are non-ionizing and therefore cannot burn or cause cellular damage. The 5G, like any other radio wave, cannot transmit a virus or bacteria. I wonder why 4G did not also generate the viruses that caused 2003 SARS and MERS of 2012 comparatively less virulent predecessor-strains of coronavirus. In fact, the radio waves from microwaves are more powerful than the radio waves from cellular systems, to which one may be exposed, such as 5G. The scientists went further to justify their claim by saying that that was why there were so many cases in South Korea, US, Italy and China that deployed 5G and no fatalities in Russia that does not have. Russia has as of today 555 deaths. Its effect, according to their report is that it causes cancer and weakens the immune system. Cindy Russell, in her recent publication in Research titled 5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications stated that” its effect on public health and safety remain unknown because it is far less studied for human environmental effects. It will take years or decades before the true health consequences are known.” It is therefore little wonder that scientific consensus has debunked it as conspiracy theory and lately a UK National Health Service doctor, Steven Powis, described it as ….” dangerous, fake and nonsense”.
Kim Komando, in her brilliant article titled The great 5G Coronavirus conspiracy published in USA TODAY, on April 20, 2020 reports that arsonists in the UK and across Europe are destroying cell phone towers, including one serving a field hospital where COVID-19 patients are treated believing that 5G networks are helping to spread coronavirus.
The Bible tells us in Hosea 4: 6 that people are destroyed for lack of knowledge and in this context lack of understanding of how cellular system works. She went on to say that” No legitimate physician, credible researcher, engineer or scientist has found any evidence that 5G causes, helps to spread, or that exposure to 5G signals mimic COVID-19 symptoms.” Conspiracy theorists get a lot of attention for spreading baseless claims as truth, just as scammers and cybercriminals prey on ignorant people. A psychologist, Dr. David Luddein, was asked Why do people believe conspiracy theories? Writing in Psychology Today he said “One main reason is that we, as humans, have natural desire for control and security. A global pandemic is beyond our control and threatens our security. In most conspiracy theories, followers claim that since there is no evidence to prove them wrong, the lack of such evidence becomes their evidence that they are right.” If television, microwave, radiotherapy, X-rays and other radio appliances, satellites and cellular phones have not depopulated the world by now, they never will. Neither will 5G.
In summary, 5G (fifth generation), a network simply made of radio waves does not generate or spread coronavirus. It is Not responsible for the pandemic.