Updated: Jan 11

Coronavirus cures: The bogus and the promising

Putting on my doctor’s hat for a moment, I wanted to take a quick look at where we are in the quest to find something to either cure or treat Covid-19, which is the present illness called by Coronavirus. By the way, the Influenza virus is in a completely different family from Coronavirus, even though the symptoms caused are similar.

During a time of widespread affliction and uncertainty, you can rely on human beings to come up with all kinds of conspiracy and unproved theories. While it’s a normal human tendency, it can cause harm to desperate and susceptible people who tend to latch onto anything they hear. We can pretty much dispose of some of the bogus claims floating around.

Let’s first examine what a Coronavirus looks like:

Coronavirus structure (Shutterstock)

It’s called coronavirus because the spiky clubs on the surface kind of look like a low-budget crown. Corona is Latin for “crown” or “wreath. It’s called an RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus because that’s the genetic material inside the envelope. The spike glycoprotein (circled in red) is a kind of “sugary” protein that fits right onto the cells inside our bodies, especially the cells inside our respiratory tract (breathing passages and lungs). The cells in our respiratory tract also have those glycoproteins that are kind of the mirror image of the ones on the virus. So it’s like a lock and key. When the virus grabs onto the cell, it unlocks the cell and the virus goes inside the cell. Once it’s there, the RNA in the virus hijacks the cell and uses the cell to replicate, that is, make copies of itself. At a certain point, the copies break out of the cells and go on a rampage, entering other cells and overwhelming them.

But don’t think one virus infects one human cell, because a human cell in our breathing passages is about 100 times larger than the Coronavirus, so there’s plenty of room for a whole gang of viruses to settle on one cell. Now imagine the millions of cells in our breathing passages and think of the hundreds of millions of Coronavirus replicating–we end up with millions of millions of viruses having a party like a bunch of drunk teenagers.

Now that we know that, let’s examine some of the myths about “curing” Covid-19, which is the present disease caused by this new (“novel”) Coronavirus.


  1. Wash the virus away by drinking lots of water

When you drink water, where does it go? To your stomach. Where is the virus? In your breathing passages. If you were to supposedly “wash out” the virus with water, you would have to suck a bunch of water into your lungs, which would make you choke. Your own body will not allow you to suck water into your lungs. That’s called drowning.

  1. Drink warm or hot water

The virus is quite comfortable with warm water because it’s comfortable in your warm body. The temperature that would kill the virus will also burn your mouth. Also, the water you’re drinking is flowing on top or over your cells. The virus is firmly fixed inside like passengers in a plane or customers in a Starbucks. You can spray the outside of the plane or the Starbucks as much as you like–it won’t get the people out.

  1. Vinegar and lemon with water