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Creating Waves of Awareness


© Dr. Rajneesh Kumar Sharma MD (Homoeopathy)


World is facing a new disease called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). SARS, an atypical pneumonia of unknown aetiology, was recognized at the end of February 2003.

The disease was first reported among people in Guangdong Province (China), Hanoi (Vietnam), and Hong Kong. It has since spread to other countries.

To understand it well, we must first acquaint us with theory of viruses.


What is a Virus?


A cell is a stand-alone living entity able to eat, grow and reproduce. Viruses are nothing like that. If one could look at a virus, he would see that a virus is a tiny particle. Virus particles are about one-millionth of an inch (17 to 300 nanometers) long. Viruses are about a thousand times smaller than bacteria, and bacteria are much smaller than most human cells. Viruses are so small that most cannot be seen with a light microscope, but must be observed with an electron microscope.

A virus particle, or virion, consists of the following:


Nucleic acid - Set of genetic instructions, either DNA or RNA, either single-stranded or double-stranded (see How Cells Work for details on DNA and RNA)

Coat of protein - Surrounds the DNA or RNA to protect it

Lipid membrane - Surrounds the protein coat (found only in some viruses, including influenza; these types of viruses are called enveloped viruses as opposed to naked viruses)

Viruses vary widely in their shape and complexity. Some look like round popcorn balls, while others have a complicated shape that looks like a spider or the Apollo lunar lander.

Unlike human cells or bacteria, viruses do not contain the chemical machinery (enzymes) needed to carry out the chemical reactions for life. Instead, viruses carry only one or two enzymes that decode their genetic instructions. So, a virus must have a host cell (bacteria, plant or animal) in which to live and make more viruses. Outside of a host cell, viruses cannot function. For this reason, viruses tread the fine line that separates living things from nonliving things. Most scientists agree that viruses are alive because of what happens when they infect a host cell.


How a Virus Infects

Viruses lie around our environment all of the time just waiting for a host cell to come along. They can enter us through the nose, mouth or breaks in the skin. Once inside, they find a host cell to infect. For example, cold and flu viruses will attack cells that line the respiratory or digestive tracts. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, attacks the T-cells of the immune system.



In the lytic cycle, the virus reproduces itself using the host cell's chemical machinery. The red spiral lines in the drawing indicate the virus's genetic material. The orange portion is the outer shell that protects it.


Regardless of the type of host cell, all viruses follow the same basic steps in what is known as the lytic cycle:


-        A virus particle attaches to a host cell.

-        The particle releases its genetic instructions into the host cell.

-        The injected genetic material recruits the host cell's enzymes.

-        The enzymes make parts for more new virus particles.

-        The new particles assemble the parts into new viruses.

-        The new particles break free from the host cell.


All viruses have some type of protein on the outside coat or envelop that "feels" or "recognizes" the proper host cell(s). This protein attaches the virus to the membrane of the host cell. Some enveloped viruses can dissolve right through the cell membrane of the host because both the virus envelope and the cell membrane are made of lipids.

Those viruses that do not enter the cell must inject their contents (genetic instructions, enzymes) into the host cell. Those viruses that dissolve into a cell simply release their contents once inside the host. In either case, the results are the same.


Once inside the cell, the viral enzymes take over those enzymes of the host cell and begin making copies of the viral genetic instructions and new viral proteins using the virus's genetic instructions and the cell's enzyme machinery. The new copies of the viral genetic instructions are packaged inside the new protein coats to make new viruses.


Once the new viruses are made, they leave the host cell in one of two ways:


They break the host cell open (lysis) and destroy the host cell.

They pinch out from the cell membrane and breakaway (budding) with a piece of the cell membrane surrounding them. This is how enveloped viruses leave the cell. In this way, the host cell is not destroyed.

Once free from the host cell, the new viruses can attack other cells. Because one virus can reproduce thousands of new viruses, viral infections can spread quickly throughout the body.

The sequence of events that occurs when one comes down with the flu or a cold is a good demonstration of how a virus works:


An infected person sneezes near one.

One inhales the virus particle, and it attaches to cells lining the sinuses in his nose.

The virus attacks the cells lining the sinuses and rapidly reproduces new viruses.

The host cells break, and new viruses spread into his bloodstream and also into lungs. Because he has lost cells lining his sinuses, fluid can flow into nasal passages and give a runny nose.

Viruses in the fluid that drips down the throat attack the cells lining the throat and give a sore throat.

Viruses in your bloodstream can attack muscle cells and cause muscle aches.

Immune system responds to the infection, and in the process of fighting, it produces chemicals called pyrogens that cause body temperature to increase. This fever actually helps to fight the infection by slowing down the rate of viral reproduction, because most of the body's chemical reactions have an optimal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). If the temperature rises slightly above this, the reactions slow down. This immune response continues until the viruses are eliminated from body. However, if he sneezes, he can spread thousands of new viruses into the environment to await another host.


In the lysogenic cycle, the virus reproduces by first injecting its genetic material, indicated by the red line, into the host cell's genetic instructions. 


Once inside the host cell, some viruses, such as herpes and HIV, do not reproduce right away. Instead, they mix their genetic instructions into the host cell's genetic instructions. When the host cell reproduces, the viral genetic instructions get copied into the host cell's offspring. The host cells may undergo many rounds of reproduction, and then some environmental or predetermined genetic signal will stir the "sleeping" viral instructions. The viral genetic instructions will then take over the host's machinery and make new viruses. This cycle is called the lysogenic cycle.


Because a virus is merely a set of genetic instructions surrounded by a protein coat, and because it does not carry out any biochemical reactions of its own, viruses can live for years or longer outside a host cell. Some viruses can "sleep" inside the genetic instructions of the host cells for years before reproducing. For example, a person infected with HIV can live without showing symptoms of AIDS for years, but they can still spread the virus to others.


Symptoms of SARS

SARS begins with

  • Fever greater than 38° C (100.4°F), AND
  • One or more signs or symptoms of respiratory illness including cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hypoxia (low oxygen in the blood), x-ray findings of pneumonia, or respiratory distress, AND
  • One or more of the following within 2-7 days of the onset of symptoms.
  • Headache, an overall feeling of discomfort or malaise, and body aches. Some people also experience mild respiratory symptoms. After 2 to 7 days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough and have trouble breathing.

The incubation period between exposure to infection and the development of symptoms appears to range from 2-7 days.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a serious, infectious, pulmonary illness that is spreading through many countries in Asia with suspected cases in Europe, Australia, and the United States. The main symptoms include a high fever, cough, and shortness of breath or other breathing difficulties. Authorities in Hong Kong have identified the causative agent as a virus from the paramyxovirus class of viruses, which causes measles and mumps. Labs in Germany and Taiwan reported similar findings; the World Health Organization (WHO) is currently working to verify findings. Suspected causative agents also include parainfluenza or a virulent new strain of influenza viruses


How SARS Spreads

SARS is spread by close contact between people. SARS is most likely spread when someone sick with the disease coughs droplets into the air and someone else breathes them in. It is possible that SARS also can spread more broadly through the air or from touching objects that have become contaminated.


Who Is at Risk for SARS

Cases of SARS continue to be reported mainly among people who have had direct close contact with an infected person, such as those sharing a household with a SARS patient and health care workers who did not use infection control procedures while taking care of a SARS patient.


How to Protect From SARS

Before Infection

Cover mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing. Use of a surgical mask, wear it during close contact with other people is the best. A mask can reduce the number of droplets coughed into the air.

After infection

  •  Limit activities outside the home during 10-day period. For example, do not allow the patient to go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Tell to wash his hands often and well, especially after he has blown his nose.
  • Cover his mouth and nose with tissue while sneezing or coughing.
  • If possible, tell him to wear a surgical mask when around other people in his home. If hecan't wear a mask, the members of his household should wear one when they are around him.
  • Don't share silverware, towels, or bedding with anyone until these items have been washed with soap and hot water.
  • Clean surfaces (counter or tabletops, door knobs, bathroom fixtures, etc.) that have been contaminated by body fluids (sweat, saliva, mucous, or even vomit or urine) from the SARS patient with a household disinfectant used according to the manufacturer's instructions. Wear disposable gloves during all cleaning activities. Throw these out when done. Do not reuse them.

Follow these instructions for 10 days after the fever and respiratory symptoms have gone away.

Homoeopathic Therapeutics

The major homoeopathic prophylaxis may be:

Antim tart, Gelsemium, Ars alb, Aconite, Belladonna, Eup perfoliatum etc.


Major homoeopathic remedies may be:

Rhus tox, Sambucus, Phosphorus, Sticta p, Bryonia, Antim tart, Gelsemium, Ars alb, Aconite, Belladonna, Eup perfoliatum etc. according to drug picture. 


SARS Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

Respiratory Distress

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