Corona virus - outside the box thinking

Let us put forward new ideas for tackling this virus, however weird and whacky!

As I understand it, people are drowning in their own very thick and sticky mucous. Normal coughing is not clearing it. The mucous fills the air sacs in the lungs and to the point where no air can get in or CO2 get out.
Question: is it possible to make the mucous less thick and sticky?
Possible answer: would a mist generator help? It produces very fine water drops. If the patient breathes these in, can they then dilute the thick mucous, and so more easily cough it out?
Disclaimer: I am not a medic. This idea may or may not work. I have no idea if it would help or hinder. Try it at your own risk.

A follow on question: can anything be added to the water which forms the mist, so that it can tackle the virus?
Since it is a mist, and not steam, we are not limited to volatile liquids.
The Corona virus is similar to the common cold virus (actually a whole family of virii).
One old technique to tackle the cold is with salt water - gargle with it. and also suck it up into the nose.
The active component in salt is the chlorine. It helps attenuate the virus.
Anyway, I have ordered an electrically powered mister. Probably best to get one with more capacity rather than the small ones. I have ordered a 4 litre capacity. It has two outlet spouts, which appear to be swivelable to point in one direction.
In case the mains electricity fails, I have also ordered some hand operated plant misters. A potential problem would be if when not in use, the water at the nozzle evaporates and a salt plug blocks it. Could simply put a piece of wet sponge over the nozzle to prevent this.

Comments and suggestions gratefully received.

Any other “outside the box” ideas?

I am in email contact with a retired nurse who I know. I sent him this suggestion and asked if the idea is sound. He has replied:
“And a brilliant one it is, too. I like your article; but, then, I have long used strong salt ‘gargles’ to clear up sore throats and aid in the expulsion of secretions. They have always worked for me. One just has to remember to - on no account - swallow! If it works (ie ‘stubborn secretions’ are among the symptoms) then your solution could prevent the need for temporary respirator support.”

There’s a good well-sourced short video here which talks about the progress of the disease:

Excerpts from the transcript

After about 10 days, millions of body cells are infected, and billions of viruses swarmed the lungs.

The virus has not caused too much damage yet, but corona is now going to release a real beast on you, your own immune system.

The immune system, while there to protect you, can actually be pretty dangerous to yourself and needs tight regulation.

And as immune cells pour into the lungs to fight the virus, Corona infects some of them and creates confusion.

Corona causes infected immune cells to overreact, puts the immune system into a fighting frenzy and sends way more soldiers than it should, wasting its resources and causing damage.

Two kinds of cells in particular wreak havoc. […] As they arrive in their thousands, they start pumping out enzymes that destroy as many friends as enemies. Confused as they are, they start ordering healthy cells to kill themselves too.

In most cases, the immune system slowly regains control. It kills the infected cells, intercepts the viruses trying to infect new ones and cleans up the battlefield. Recovery begins.

The majority of people infected by Corona will get through it with relatively mild symptoms.

But many cases become severe or even critical. In more severe cases, millions of epithelial cells have died and with them, the lungs’ protective lining is gone. That means that the alveoli - tiny air sacs via which breathing occurs - can be infected by bacteria that aren’t usually a big problem.

Patients get pneumonia. Respiration becomes hard or even fails, and patients need ventilators to survive. The immune system has fought at full capacity for weeks and made millions of antiviral weapons. And as thousands of bacteria rapidly multiply, it is overwhelmed.

From what I’ve read/watched [not a doctor] it’s not really mucous that’s the issue, but blood plasma leaking into tissues around the lungs (and related issues - see video in Ed’s post and below) reducing lung function - increasing/reviving surfactant levels in alveoli could be a target…?

Most relevant parts are from around the 22:40 mark:

(aimed at med student-level, so is technical/uses acronyms without explaining them in places)

I see XR has forwarded a couple of ‘tech primer’ type documents (google docs). One is a big overview, for ‘technologists’ and experts and others, and there’s another all about hackspaces and the like:

Coronavirus Tech Handbook

The Coronavirus Tech Handbook provides a space for technologists, civic organisations, public and private institutions, researchers and specialists of all kinds to collaborate on a rapid and sophisticated response to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent impacts. It is a quickly evolving resource with thousands of active expert contributors.

Tech Communities | Coronavirus Tech Handbook


I came across this site - loads of interesting (and advanced) projects listed, including a " Open hardware and low-cost tools" which includes opensource PCR testing among other things:

1 Like