A Ghost of A Chance
By Dr. William R. Kellas



In today's environment we are all constantly facing the chance of catching viruses, it might be helpful for you to have more knowledge on just what viruses are and just what you can do about it.

What are viruses, and how are they like airline hijackers?

To understand viruses, it is first necessary to understand the basic structure and function of a cell, whether a body cell or a bacterium. A cell is a self-contained unit which can:
-take in nourishment
-excrete wastes
-produce energy
-reproduce itself

In order to reproduce, the cell uses the information encoded in its genetic material, DNA and RNA, to make copies of itself with the same characteristics as the original cell. The DNA does not in itself cause reproduction; it is instead used as a blueprint for the "building crew" inside the cell to follow.

A virus is essentially a packet of genetic information surrounded by a protein covering. All viruses have an inner covering, called a capsid, to protect the genetic material; some viruses also have an outer covering made up of proteins, complex sugars, and fat. Viruses cannot perform any cellular functions by themselves, and so must hijack cells to carry out their intended purpose: replicating themselves. A virus can take over a cell like the invasion by an alien entity takes over a hapless victim in a science fiction movie.

Are viruses alive?
Viruses, by themselves, are not considered to be alive by most criteria. They more closely resemble molecules or crystals than they resemble cells. While bacteria are amorphous, or blob-shaped, many viruses have geometrical many-sided structures that fit together with mathematical precision. Viruses are barely larger than the largest macromolecules. If an average bacterium were blown up to the size of this paragraph, the average virus, in contrast, would be about the size of the period at the end of this sentence

What are the basic types of viruses?
There are many types of viruses that infect humans. These are very specific in the types of cells to which they attach, and will not affect other cells, tissues, or organs. For example, the mumps virus has a precise affinity for the human respiratory epithelium (lining of lungs and trachea). Because of this specificity, it is rare for viruses to affect more than one animal or plant species, although there are exceptions such as rabies. Viruses that infect bacterial cells are called bacteriophages. An example of a bacteriophage would be the T4 phage which infects the E-coli bacteria in the stomach.

How do viruses enter the body?
Viruses enter the body through the same routes as bacteria ‹ respiratory, ingestion, etc. Because of their specificity, viruses must enter the body in a particular way in order to cause infection. Inhaled stomach viruses (normally swallowed), cold viruses in contact with a cut in the skin (normally inhaled), or swallowed AIDS (HIV) viruses (normally transmitted through body fluids) are less likely to cause damage than if they entered the body by their preferred route. The susceptibility of the person to infection depends primarily on the state of the immune system, the presence of bacteria, and also upon the age of the host/victim, with the youngest and oldest being more susceptible.

How is viral infection prevented?
Prevention involves blocking the spread of infection by washing hands, covering sneezes, and carefully disposing of used tissues in the case of rhinoviruses (cold viruses), or by practicing abstinence or monogamy to help prevent the spread of the HIV or herpes viruses.

Using an iodine-based hand and face wash such as Hi-Tech Hygiene can help prevent the spread of infection, as iodine has a viricidal (virus-killing) effect like chlorine.

What types of viral infection are there?
There are several types of viral infections:
-Acute - When viruses cause an immediate set of symptoms with a short incubation period and a distinct onset and are then eliminated, the infection is said to be acute. An example is a cold or the flu.
-Chronic - A persistent infection such as infant cytomegalovirus causes low-grade symptoms and lingers on. The presence of these viruses can cause constant and fruitless attacks by the immune system, leading to autoimmune disorders. Viruses are, however, not the only cause of such disorders.
-Latent - Some viruses can enter a latent stage that can last for years or even decades. Viruses in this state cannot be detected, either by scientific methods or by the immune system. When the viruses enter, or re-enter the active stage, infectious symptoms can come on suddenly and appear acute. An example of a latent virus is the herpes varicella virus, which causes childhood chickenpox. The virus lays latent in nerve cells, and can reappear decades later as a case of shingles. The virus is now called herpes zoster, and very painful poxlike vesicles erupt on the surface of the skin, primarily that of the trunk, where viruses in the nerve cells erupt through the nearby skin. Another example is the genital herpes virus, which can cause a painful, disabling first herpes attack years after infection.
-Slow - Viruses can slowly build up to the point of causing symptoms that come on and worsen gradually, as in the case of AIDS.

Many viruses such as herpes remain in the body for a lifetime. At best they are controlled, but not eliminated, by the immune system.

How can viruses cause damage?
Viruses cause their damage in several ways.
-They can cause destruction of the cell or its function, as for example polio's attack on the nerve cells, producing permanent paralysis. Damage is confined to the part of the body actually infected.
-They can, through stimulation of the immune system to attack, cause a local inflammatory response, although this rarely happens to any large extent.
-As previously mentioned, viruses can stimulate an autoimmune attack.
-They can cause hyperplasia, or a buildup of cells, as in skin or genital warts (papilloma). Warts can spread to nearby areas on the skin or mucous membranes, but don't travel freely through the body.
-They can cause DNA mutations which lead to uncontrolled cell growth, or cancer. Viruses probably do not act alone to cause cancer, but rather interact with other stressors when the immune system is suppressed.
-They can weaken the immune system so that other, more dangerous viruses and bacteria can gain a foothold and do their damage. Examples are encephalitis (brain infection) or meningitis following measles or viral or bacterial pneumonia following a cold.

Can you catch a viral infection more than once?
Since each virus has a specific shape, the immune system will attack it, usually successfully, once the immune system recognizes the invader and produces antibodies against it. This explains several things:
-Most viral infections are self-limiting ‹ they run their course and are then eliminated.
-This immune system recognition also explains why vaccination works, although vaccination has its drawbacks, as discussed in the chapter on Treatment-Caused Trauma in my book Thriving In A Toxic World. A dead or weakened form of the virus is injected into the body, and the immune system mounts a defense and is forever after ready to attack immediately if live viruses later enter the body. The live viruses are killed before they have time to multiply to damage-causing numbers and to penetrate the body's cells.
-Similarly, once a person has had a particular viral disease, such as chickenpox, mumps, or measles, she/he cannot be reinfected at a later date because the immune system is primed to attack the invader if it ever again enters the body.

If this is the case, then why do so many of us catch colds, which are caused by viruses, repeatedly?

About half of all viruses which affect humans, including different types of adenoviruses, coronaviruses, and coxsackie viruses, attack upper respiratory and nasal membranes to produce the familiar symptoms of a cold. The cold symptoms produced by one virus are nearly indistinguishable from those produced by another. The symptoms vary from person to person depending on the individual's weak spots (throat, lungs, sinuses). After infection, the person is then immune, but only to that particular virus, one out of many. For the same reason, although a vaccine could theoretically be made against a particular cold virus, such a vaccine would not be very useful when hundreds of other viruses which cause cold symptoms would not be affected by the vaccine.

Are there effective treatments for viral diseases?

There is no true allopathic treatment for most viral diseases, if what is meant by treatment is a drug or agent that will selectively kill viruses in the body. Viruses are either nonliving crystalline matter or an indistinguishable part of an otherwise normal cell, depending on the stage of their life cycle, so it is unlikely that a virus-killer will be developed in the near future.

Antibiotics are useless against viruses and can cause harm of their own, but they are sometimes misprescribed for a viral infection through ignorance because the patient pressures the doctor to do something (however useless), or as a preventive measure against the bacterial infections that sometimes follow viral infections.

"Treatments" for viruses are therefore of three types:
-One type aims for symptom suppression, such as antihistamines, cold capsules, fever reducers, or cough drops. These suppress the immune system's effectiveness.
-The second type treats the opportunistic infections such as bacterial infection that may occur once the virus has weakened the immune system.
-The most effective measures for both prevention and cure are any ways in which immune system function is enhanced. Stronger and more numerous antibodies will then mount an attack on the viruses.

Some substances which support the immune system in fighting viruses include:
-Philmarten (phyllanthus amarus)
-Copper and the amino acid lysine which form copper lysinate
-Cyclic AMP (adenosine monophosphate)
-Gamma globulin
-Oxygenation methods such as hydrogen peroxide, ozone, or Dioxy-chlor (chlorine dioxide) -Hyperthermia, in which the blood is heated outside the body and reinfused
-Rife generator and other frequency generators
-Germanium and Coenzyme Q10
-Antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, and C; bioflavonoids like pyc-nogenol, grape seed, quercetin, rutin; selenium. These control free radical damage and inflammation
-Transfer factor, also called com-plement, which tells the immune system what to attack. It programs the immune system to work normally.
-Alpha interferon
-Personalized vaccination, in which a vaccine is made from viral material from your own body. -Colloidal silver
-Garlic is shown to protect against viruses and to enhance the production of antibodies. It should be eaten raw or as an extract, as it loses much of its medicinal value when cooked.

Moderate exercise increases resistance to viral and other infections. It supports immune system function and works the lymph glands. Even 45 minutes a day of walking has been shown to significantly reduce the number of respiratory infections in those who previously got them frequently

What are some indicators of viral infection?

A comprehensive blood test can show a number of indicators that viral disease is present, although they are not diagnostic in themselves. The more of these that show up in the blood, the greater the likelihood that viruses have gone out of control.
-Low uric acid
-High bilirubin
-High albumin/ globulin (A/G) ratio, above 2.0
-High lymphocytes/ white cells that fight viral infection
-High monocytes, another white blood cell type
-Lowered total white blood cell count If you have lowered immune system function from toxic immune suppressors such as chemicals or metals, or low levels of protective bacteria, copper, lysine, and gamma globulin, you are susceptible to viral infection. The environment is more important than the presence of the virus in determining whether viral infection will develop.

Stress greatly increases the likelihood of getting a cold or viral infection. A study of people with strep bacteria in their throats showed that only 1/5 of those with low stress levels got sick, compared with 1/2 of those with high stress levels .

Dr. William R. Kellas is the co-founder of the Center For Advanced Medicine in Encinitas, CA.; he is also the host of a weekly syndicated radio show "Health Talk A Second Opinion" heard on AM Radio 12:10 on the dial in the Inland Empire each Saturday from 11:00 A.M. to noon. He is also the co-author of "Thriving In A Toxic World", "Surviving The Toxic Crisis", and the author of "Toxic Immune Syndrome Cookbook." Dr. Kellas also does conventions and workshops on a variety of topics.

For more information call 1 (888) 244-4420 or call the Center For Advanced Medicine at (760) 632-9042.

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