Patterson Blain Environmental
21st Century Infection Control
The secret to understanding the ERIS and PIROLA Variants of the Coronavirus lies in knowing its characteristics.
Visualizing the incredibly tiny size of a virus helps us understand the difficult task of preventing a viral infection. The ERIS and PIROLA Variants of the Coronavirus are so small they defy logic. Here are some comparisons.
The Eris and Pirola Variants: Astonishing Facts
Looking at a Coronavirus on a beachball is like looking at a beachball on the planet Earth!
It is the same scale.
The image below represents the scale of a 48 inch beach ball to the planet Earth. The Earth is 10 million times larger than the beach ball...the image to the right shows a Coronavirus next to a 48 inch beach ball. The beach ball is 10 million times larger than the Coronavirus.
The image below shows the scale of a single Coronavirus on a 48 inch beach ball. The beach ball is 10 million times larger than the Coronavirus. Looking at a virus on a 48 inch beach ball, is like looking from space at a beach ball on the Earth.
This comparison was inspired by the Nanotech website from the US Army Copyrights are sole possession of Patterson Blain Environmental
FILTRATION AND PROTECTION: The HEPA filter in the image below claims to trap 99.8% of the particles that pass through it. *The form fitted N-95 mask worn by medical personnel is supposed to stop 95% of particulates.
This is what we are dealing with...an infinitesimal strand of RNA smaller than even the tiniest bacteria.
Size of a virus
In the sub microscopic world of the Coronavirus, barriers like the fibers of this HEPA filter are more like a chain link fence than a brick wall. This electron-scanning image of a HEPA filter shows tiny bacteria (the round objects) stuck to its fibers. These bacteria are at least 10 times larger than the like sized star icon that we substituted for a Coronavirus particle.
A slight static charge is holding these bacteria onto the synthetic fiber, but any forced air from a fan, a breeze, even a human breath could dislodge them.
HEPA air purifiers use a weave of fibers to trap particles. They are designed to clean pollen and dust from the air. Extremely tiny particles like bacteria and viruses present a problem for HEPA filters. Some are trapped in the maze of fibers, but HVAC systems and Air purifiers must move air from the room through the filters and that requires a fan! Air moves through HVAC and portable air filtration systems at very high rates of speed (up to 20 miles per hour in commercial HVAC systems). Hold your hand out the window of your car while you are traveling 20 miles per hour, or walk into a 20 mph wind, and you will feel the force of air moving at 20 mph. Tiny viral particles can be dislodged from filters as air is forced through them.
The images below show us there is considerable room for something as small as a virus to move about. 100 virions could line up side by side, and still move between the fibers of the N-95 mask pictured in the image. The 10 micron (10,000 nanometer) measure at the bottom of the image, displays how porous the filtration is at the sub-microscopic level of the Coronavirus.
Electron microscopic images of N-95 masks show the extensive gaps between fibers. Image (A) shows a 10 micron (10,000 nanometer) ruler at the bottom. The Coronavirus is approximately 100 nanometers.
100 coronavirus virions could stretch across this ruler
The Eris and Pirola Covid Cloud
Respiratory "clouds" form around us as we breathe and speak. We can only see these "clouds" in very cold weather, but they are always there. These respiratory clouds are made of millions of aerosolized droplets. These droplets, some as small as 300 nanometers, drift about in air currents that surround us.
Commonly worn masks are much more porous than N-95 masks or HEPA filters. Could a 100 nanometer Coronavirus particle hitch-hike on one of those droplets as it passes through the open mesh of a mask? Could a mask wearer inhale one of these hitch-hikers?
Images of a sneeze:
Lydia Bourouiba, Ph.D.
MIT Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory, Cambridge, MA
This photograph demonstrates the power of a sneeze to launch both large and small droplets.
It also shows the clouds of moisture referred to as
The Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. Corresponding Author: Lydia Bourouiba, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139 (email@example.com). Published Online: March 26, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.4756
TRANSMISSION AND INFECTION:
The Nose Knows
A number of peer reviewed studies have concluded that the main transmission site for the Coronavirus is epithelial tissue in the nose. Two enzymes in particular facilitate the attachment. The angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE-2) and the transmembrane protease serene 2 (TMPRSS-2) provide a base for the structural protein of the Covid virus. The "spike" protein "legs" attach to the ACE-2, while the TMPRSS enzyme is commandeered to form a crevice in the host cell wall.
Abundant accumulations of these enzymes are present on cells located in the olfactory region and upper passageways of the nose.
Graphic Image of a Coronavirus
The enlarged end or "head" of the Spike protein, seen in the diagram on the right, forms a connection with the ACE-2 enzyme (present on the outside of many cells, especially in the nose). The thinner end of the Spike uses another enzyme (TMPRSS2) to fuse with the cell wall of the targeted host. The new fused connection lets the virus transfer new genetic instructions to the internal mechanisms of the host cell. The cell is then given new plans and instructions from the virus to produce replicas of the virus.
Can something as simple as "blowing your nose" help protect you from the Coronavirus?
Researchers at the University of North Carolina have mapped the presence of the ACE-2 enzyme (a magnet for the Covid-19 virus). The tissue lining the nose is loaded with the ACE-2 enzyme. While it exists in other areas of the respiratory tract, there is less and less of the ACE-2 in the airways leading away from the nose and into the lungs. The virus can invade cells in the mouth, throat, or lungs, but the nose is by far the most attractive point of attack.
Studies indicate the olfactory region of the upper nasal cavity is the first target of the Covid-19 Coronavirus. Case reviews conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers noted that many Covid positive patients reported a loss of smell and taste before any other symptoms.
The obvious answer is "Yes" to the question: Can blowing your nose help prevent a Covid-19 infection?
Blowing your nose or any activity that helps to clear the nasal passages will help expel Coronavirus particles, or any other pathogen. Every time you sneeze or blow your nose you are expelling potentially harmful pathogens.
There are many methods and devices that are used to rinse the nose, but there is a simple thing we can add to our daily routine. Use an aerosol saline spray to help rinse your nasal passages. The spray is a small amount of fine mist. It is barely noticeable, but it adds enough moisture to help clear your nose. There is no need to tilt your head back; just spray in each nostril and blow.
You can add this to your daily routine as you brush your teeth. Gargling after will also help to rinse, or even destroy pathogens that have adhered to your mouth and throat. It is probably a good idea to rinse and blow after a shopping trip, or other encounters with the public.
The Eris and Pirola variants: Covid-19 Secrets and Mysteries
A less potent variant of the original Sars-CoV-2 virus may eventually replace more dangerous strains. The key to understanding such a strange turn of events is realizing that the virus is not trying to kill human beings. A virus needs living human cells to act as hosts…it cannot survive in dead tissue. Severe symptoms and death are accidental outcomes of a viral infection.
The primary objective of the virus is to reproduce. A virus replicates by invading a cell and issuing new commands (genetic codes) to its reproductive system. The host cell uses these genetic codes and genetic material from the host to make copies of the virus. Occasionally the reproduction system is confused by the new commands and the system creates a slightly different design. Most of the new viral designs fail to survive, but on vey rare occasions, the new version is better than the previous design. If the changed virus succeeds and its numbers grow, the improved version will begin to dominate. The result is a successful variant.
The Eris variant, which is currently the focus of the media, has acquired some troubling new characteristics. Sixteen mutations to the stem section of the virus may improve its potential to infect upper respiratory cells; however, there is very limited research regarding any dangerous effects. The Nowcast software program tracks the percentage of variants comprising nationwide infections. In the month of September, 2023, Nowcast list ?Eris as the most prevalent, while BA.2.86 the Pirola variant has been classified as a Variant of Concern (VOC). The Pirola variant has thirty mutations. It may be the most infectious variant yet.
A genetic lottery is taking place in the microscopic world that surrounds us. A virus survives by constantly reproducing within the cells of the creatures it infects. A bat in China, a mink in Denmark, a chicken in Mexico, a stockbroker on an elevator in New York City, all have served as living factories for invading armies of virions (the infective "children" of the virus). The number of virions in a single host are staggering, and the potential for mutation exist with every single one. Trillions upon trillions of mistakes occur as the virus replicates. Most of the mistakes don’t improve replication; we never see the result of those mistakes, because they do not survive. The mistakes that occurred as the Wuhan virus reproduced resulted in better version, the Delta Variant. Mistakes that occurred as the Delta Variant reproduced resulted in the Omicron Variant (The Cron)
Genetic codes dictate the order of the amino acids used to construct the proteins, and those proteins are the building blocks of the cell. A saying among geneticists goes: DNA makes RNA, RNA makes Proteins. The strands of DNA that make up the familiar twisted Helix go in opposite directions. One called the sense. The other is called the antisense. The sense strand contains the construction codes called introns. The antisense strand has the same codes, but these codes, called exons, are used to form strands of mRNA. The mRNA instructions are used to make new cells.
Groups of amino acids, the "triplets" of introns and exons, comprise these codes. Changing a single amino acid in these triplets can make a big difference in a newly constructed virus. If the virus was a house, the Genome (the genetic instructions for the virus), would be the architectural plan. Amino acids are like the materials used to build a house: lumber, cement, sheetrock, electrical wiring, shingles, and bricks. Proteins would be like the rooms of the house. The plan for the kitchen needs pipes for water, electricity for lights and appliances, while the living room may need different materials. The roof will need shingles and the outside walls will need bricks. All of these materials have to be put together according to the plan, or the house will not work properly.
A virus is like an intruder in the neighborhood. It’s a bad carpenter intent upon building a house according to its own plans. The original owner’s needs are ignored, and the architect’s plans are replaced. The intruder steals the building materials (amino acids) and uses those materials to make a house of its own. Sometimes the bad carpenter gets confused. It might use bricks to build the roof (roof proteins), which then collapses, so the house is defective. It might forget to run water pipes (water pipe proteins) to the bathroom, or the kitchen. Once again, the house is defective. But what if the carpenter mistakenly uses more lumber when building the walls of the house, its mistake results in a stronger wall. That single change makes the house more resilient in bad weather. The next time a storm comes along, the houses with the weaker walls are blown down, but the houses constructed using more lumber in the walls survive. Soon there are more houses with stronger walls, than those with weaker walls. Sometimes even a bad carpenter accidentally improves a house! Similar houses survive, while the weaker houses fail, until there are fewer and fewer, then none.
A mutation that increases the ability of a virus to infect, while causing less severe symptoms, would be advantageous for both the virus and its victims. Patients infected with Pirola are displaying mild symptoms like, “runny noses” and mild congestion. Let's hope the increasing infectivity-decreasing virulence theory of virus mutations proves to be true.