Cytokine Storm - How your immune system is so dangerous with flu
There is a real lack of information in the news on how the body responds to new emerging viruses. Most of the reports from Mexico (and now Texas) have been healthy 20-50 year olds being more affected than normal. They have been the ones most affected by this virus as compared to regular influenza which mostly affects infants and old people. To the newborn and old this is still deadly as its still regular flu (as we saw with the death in Texas).
Take a look at the 1918 pandemic graph below. I'm sure swine flu numbers are gonna be the same. 2% mortality of total population with 20% of 20-50 year olds.
What you are looking at for 20-50 year olds is an immune response that is killing their own bodies much like a severe allergic reaction. The cytokines are responding to an airborne infection in the lungs and are attacking it in great numbers preventing gas exchange. The body goes haywire and doesn't turn off the tap. Eventually you drown from lack of oxygen. Most of the serious cases in Texas (and of course Mexico) have required mechanical ventilators. Here in industrialized countries we have greater access to Tamiflu and ventilators. Those in Mexico and other poorer countries don't and will get the brunt of this. Eventually our medical system will become strained too as there are only so many ventilators and pills to go around.
But not to worry there is a way to calm your immune response and its available at your pharmacy (prescription required).
Dr. David Moskowitz of GenoMed has been successfully treating West Nile Virus patients with cheap common readily available generic ACE inhibitors (blood pressure medication). He says it should work the same way with swine flu. See link below. It calms the immune response but does not drop it dangerously low allowing a secondary infection (like what steroids do). You need a balance of cytokines to stop the virus but not too much that your system kills you in the process.
If you are 20-50 save Tamiflu for infants and the old since they aren't getting the cytokine storm as Tamiflu can help them more and you can get blood pressure medication to prevent a cytokine storm. Of course only use it if you are really really sick. Print off the above link and see your doctor. Here is a pdf of the West Nile Virus study using losartan 50mg daily after being admitted to hospital with fever.
Info on Cytokine Storm:
Last edited by blackkitty; 05-01-2009 at 02:58 AM..
Mexico shutting down for 5 days
Mexico shuts down to control flu
Mexico is beginning a five-day shutdown of parts of its economy in a bid to slow the spread of swine flu.
Non-essential government services will be suspended, while businesses such as cinemas and restaurants will be closed.
Mexican officials say the spread of the virus - suspected in more than 160 deaths - is slowing, but international experts are more cautious.
Globally, cases of swine flu have now been confirmed in 12 countries across three continents.
In cases outside Mexico the virus does not appear to be severe, although one death has been confirmed in the US.
The WHO has set its pandemic alert level at five - but says it has no immediate plans to move to the highest level of six.
The shut-down in Mexico covers two public holidays and a weekend.
Some factories will stop production and schools are already closed. Residents have been urged to stay at home.
But some people say they will ignore it because they cannot afford not to work.
There is also growing concern at the effect the virus could have on Mexico's already-struggling economy.
The number of confirmed cases of swine flu infection in Mexico now stands at about 300, officials say.
Twelve people are known to have died from the virus and it is suspected in more than 160 other deaths.
Announcing the figures, Mexican Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said that new cases of the virus were levelling off.
"The fact that we have a stabilisation in the daily numbers, even a drop, makes us optimistic," he said.
But Dr Keiji Fukuda, acting assistant director general of the World Health Organisation, said fluctuations were to be expected. "If it didn't do that [it] would be very unusual," he said.
In other developments:
• The US has announced that it will buy 13 million new courses of antiviral treatment and send 400,000 of them to Mexico
• An aide to US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu who helped arrange President Obama's recent trip to Mexico is being tested for swine flu, AP reports, although the aide is said not to have been in contact with the president
• Test results are expected to confirm the UK's first person-to-person transmission of swine flu, in a friend of a couple from Scotland who were first in the country to be diagnosed with the virus
• Mexico says it will lodge a formal challenge at the World Trade Organisation demanding explanations from countries that have banned imports of Mexican pork products
• The Inter-American Development Bank said it would approve $3bn in loans to help Mexico fight the virus
On Thursday European health ministers held an emergency meeting on measures to tackle the virus, which has been confirmed in six European countries.
EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said Europe was well prepared to handle swine flu and there was "no need to panic".
The ministers agreed to work with pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine, but rejected a French plan to suspend flights to Mexico.
Several countries have restricted travel to Mexico and many tour operators have cancelled holidays.
The WHO, meanwhile, says it will now call the virus influenza A (H1N1) rather than swine flu - which it says is misleading as pork meat is safe and the virus is being transmitted from human to human.
Last edited by blackkitty; 05-01-2009 at 03:04 AM..
Cytokine storms are rare in the extreme. As this disease has not caused any so far, it seems safe to assume there is no excessive risk of them occuring(any more than usual).
I really don't think they are rare at all for new viral infections. Lets look at previous new virus infections.
-Cytokine storm in SARS
-Cytokine storm in Avian Flu
-Cytokine storm in 1918 pandemic (Enhanced virulence of influenza A viruses with the haemagglutinin of the 1918 pandemic virus)
-Cytokine storm in West Nile Virus
All produced Cytokine Storms not just one or two...but all. This would explain Dr. Antonio Chavez in Mexico City comment on the BBC's talking point and Guadalupe on those most affected being young healthy adults:
Last edited by blackkitty; 05-01-2009 at 01:19 PM..