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Be like a bat: how to beat the coronavirus

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An antiviral to combat the virus will probably not be released until next year – so what can you do to reduce your risk of infection? The first thing is to do what doctors rarely do – and that’s wash your hands after contact with another person. Hand-to-mouth-and-nose is the second most common way of transmitting the virus after being sneezed on by an infected person. For that, you would need to wear a face mask.

So, after hand washing, what should you be doing? Well, you can learn from the bat, the carrier of the virus which has ‘jumped’ into humans. In fact, bats were the carriers of the SARS, MERS, Ebola and Marburg viruses as well. So why don’t they get ill from them?

Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley have discovered that bats have an immune system that’s always primed to kill the viruses. Their systems mount “a robust response” that’s also anti-inflammatory, says researcher Cara Brook.

How do we ramp up our own immune system? Aside from getting enough sleep and drinking more water, we can eat more immune-boosting food, such as the citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, ginger, spinach and turmeric.

But the fast-track way to boost your immune system is taking mega-doses of vitamin C. Cardiologist Dr Thomas Levy, a leading advocate of vitamin C therapy, says the vitamin is vital for healthy immune system functioning – but it can be kick-started only with doses way above the 90mg recommended daily allowance (RDA).

Dr Levy recommends taking at least 2000mg a day, taken frequently in smaller doses. As the virus accumulates in the nasal passageways, using a 3% hydrogen peroxide nebulizer can quickly kill any existing germs. Taking the vitamin intravenously is the optimum way to deliver such high doses, he adds.

(Source: eLife, 2020; 9: doi: 10.7554/eLife.48401)

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