While this pandemic continues to evolve and spread, there is an array of questions about how to handle it. The latest outbreak has merely woken up people to the high risk of spreading every disease that we face today. Through air travel speeding up disease transmission from one part of the globe to another, something that we don’t already have a cure for can grow rapidly to pandemic proportions.
And there are many possible diseases for which no proven treatment exists, some of which are particularly dangerous. We have antibiotics that function with most bacterial diseases but there are no antiviral comparable drugs to be used for the viral diseases we face. And the human body must fight obstacles alone.
While it is convenient to believe that it would be possible for our medical community to come up with a cure, the fact is that, the road to creating a new drug is incredibly long and full of potential potholes.
The new pathogen which causes disease needs to be identified and defined before anything can be done. Requirements for its survival and propagation, and the means by which it infects the human body, must be established. Then after all this is finished can even begin the quest for a cure.
But that’s not all. However, if a cure is rapidly stumbled upon, the required trials can take years to complete, so that the right medication can be marketed and used for treating people. At that time, the only thing the medicine can do is to be available for the next outbreak.
That may sound a little excessive, but bear in mind that drugs often have side effects, some of which are even more deadly than the disease the drug is meant to cure. The FDA needs rigorous monitoring to ensure they will not approve a medication that may be much more dangerous than it is intended to cure.
Perhaps this explains why some apparently promising treatments never make it into the real world but die in the laboratory. Such seems to be the case of ultraviolet blood irradiation, an apparently promising treatment regime that was experimented with in the 1940s and 1950s but left in history’s dustbin.
Just What Is Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation?
It is not known to most people but ultraviolet light is very harmful. The same unseen portion of the spectrum of light that gives us a sun tan, can also give us skin cancer. But it could do a lot worse than that, too. It can destroy cellular-level things, and smaller things.
You may have been in the wing of a hospital where they treat infectious diseases. If you have, you might have noticed some unusual scones on the wall, lighting up the space. Although these items are common in office buildings, hotels or any other commercial buildings, they are very different from the ones used in hotels. More than being there to bring light for you to see, they’re there to bathe the environment with ultraviolet light killing viruses.
Knowledge of how effective ultraviolet light is in killing at the cellular level has contributed to the production of ultraviolet blood irradiation (UBI) using ultraviolet light, a medical treatment of the body.
The origins of this treatment regimen date all the way back to 1845, when a French doctor found that sunlight exposure was an effective cure for patients with tuberculosis arthritis, a bacterial joint infection. This was long before the discovery of the first antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928. But antibiotics didn’t come into common use until World War II.
As exposure to ultraviolet light allows bacteria and viruses to absorb five times as much photonic energy as do red and white blood cells, UBI was first used for bacterial infections and diseases. The energy damages, and kills, the DNA in bacterial cells. For the same way, it hurts, kills, the DNA or RNA that makes up viruses. Yet natural DNA repair enzymes present in host cells repair the DNA in those cells.
Not only does this process kill harmful bacteria and viruses, but it also strengthens the body’s immune system, helping it to fend off the infection on its own. If this is to be successful it is not appropriate to expose all the blood to UV light. Therapies range from 35 cc to 300 cc of blood, depending on the particular disease to be treated. The blood is drained from the body, briefly exposed to UV light and then returned to the patient.
Why Bring UBI Back to Life?
The development and delivery of the antibiotics was what destroyed UBI as a possible cure. Their effectiveness, ease of use, and profits for the pharmaceutical companies that created and produced them resulted in attempts to create newer and more efficient antibiotics. Many recovery options were left by the wayside, such as UBI.
But there is still a big hole in the doctor’s toolkit, due to the lack of effective antiviral drugs. The way of coping with this is with the medical community using vaccines, helping the body produce its own antigens for these viruses before the patient can become infected with them.
So far as it goes, that’s good, but when there’s no vaccine available we’re left with no appropriate medication to cure the disease. The best that the healthcare industry can do is offer support while the body is battling the infection on its own.
Because UBI is not unique to the virus but can operate with any type of virus or bacteria, in the case of a major outbreak of a deadly virus, this treatment approach may be a lifesaver. Whether it had been able to handle patients affected by the 2014 Ebola epidemic, it might have saved several thousands of lives.
Yet the treatment is not ready. It’s nothing more than a curiosity at this moment, something that a couple of widely-separated doctors are playing with. The rest of the medical community doesn’t even know their existence. For them, things like acupuncture and herbal treatments are something to be scoffed at.
Bringing UBI Online
The blood was physically removed from the patient’s body while UBI was being experimented with in the mid-1900s, treated and then reintroduced into the body again. There was no computer to perform this function, which made the operation labor intensive and prone to variances and errors. Such a computer will have to be built to transform UBI into a practical service in medical clinic or hospital.
Fortunately, the technology already exists to do so, but this method of treatment has not been implemented. Hemodialysis, a common type of treatment for patients with kidney failure, requires a system that extracts the blood from the patient’s arteries, runs it through a filter that performs kidney functions, and returns the filtered blood to the patient’s veins, now lower in minerals and oxygen.
In plasma ferisis, a technique that evolved from hemodialysis, a related process occurs. A somewhat more complicated machine in it removes blood from the body, separates the plasma (the liquid), adds saline to the blood cells, replaces that plasma, and then returns the blood to the patient again. The procedure is effective for a wide variety of conditions, such as bacterial infections, in which the disease is spread via the blood plasma.
Although I know of no such experiments in the process, it may be extremely successful to combine plasma ferisis and UBI in dealing with a wide variety of bacterial and viral infections. UV light’s ability to kill viruses, combined with the ability to clean up the plasma, removing more viruses, could create a treatment strategy that could be a major advance in combating the increased risk of pandemics in the coming years.