High Energy Photons and Viruses
Viruses are a curious set of creatures. They operate in conditions that are very sheltered because they cannot exist for very long on their own. They need a host to survive and quite often have a very short existence without one.
The record for a virus outside a host, not cryogenically stored seems to be about 3 months, But, in most cases they don’t last more than a week. Inside a host it’s different as they have a life support system, all ready and waiting for them. It’s a pity some of them abuse the facilities. But what doesn’t kill us usually makes us stronger, and we are constantly being bombarded by phages, viruses and bacteria, some of which modify us genetically. It’s unlikely we will have a family portrait of one on the wall, but we might even find that viruses are a portion of who we are, the ability to make people sick to death of us is in some way, is just a family trait. Or is it just my family’s opinion of me?
Viruses are also very small, the largest being around 50 times smaller than the smallest bacteria, and have either a DNA or and RNA package inside a body called a capsid. The hardest part is for the capsid surviving entry to an animal body. Most are fitted with climbing equipment such as hairs, and some coat themselves with bits from the previous person or people as a disguise, especially if they are planning an exotic holiday in another species.
But given that, they are easily subdued by the outside world and need a support and transmission medium to survive, compared he bacteria that can survive on their own resources. It comes from being so small, think of hummingbirds in animals. And only in the animal body do they usually have a backstage pass.
This makes them quite easy to subdue as long as they aren’t internal. But with viruses, they are quite fragile in their makeup, so a lot of things can dissuade them from infecting or taking away that potential. Although a virus can last outside for maybe a week, their infective or reproducing capability seems to be the first to go. Most don’t seem able to infect past about 24 hours outside, less if the surface is absorbent. Most of it down to the type of surface their vehicle lands on. Shiny repelling hard surfaces are best, water absorbing surfaces the worst as drying out is a virus nightmare. It’s like taking away our oxygen. Also, one of the worst thing a virus can meet is an animals skin, a bit like being dropped in a sun drenched desert. They don’t last long, maybe 15 minutes.
The other thing that is know to damage a virus is ultraviolet light, especially UVC between something like 200 to 400 nanometers. They don’t like being out in the open, dark and damp places are where they work best, probably why they like bats. Sunlight and the open air are pretty bad news and if they can find a way of going from one to the other without going outside and getting a suntan it’s ideal. Like secret agents they like to work undercover, so a place that’s out of the sunlight is best. It’s unlikely they would jump freely, but would do it in stages if various intermediaries were all present close together, so things like markets, especially if covered, are good. The best carrier of a virus is something that has an immunity to it, or not badly affected by it, the best transmitter is something similar in both respects to the animal before and after.
Killing viruses and bacteria is hard to do, most antibacterial and antiviral stuff just stopping it replicating. Anything that is strong enough to kill them usually is not good for us, as it harms us as well. The best we can do is though is neuter them. This we can take from nature and provide things like artificial sun and a drying atmosphere, protecting from this dryness using a cream barrier and sun goggles. It may not be good for the skin for long periods, but would be useful in making it uncomfortable for a virus. Other things that might help is using a more vigorous airflow from below, using extractors above rather than from the side, for eliminating particulates and droplets.
Internally it’s another matter completely, the insides of an animal hard to get to without causing considerable damage on the way. Anything that is strong enough to penetrate the animal body is something that is capable of doing immense harm. But as viruses themselves are quite fragile, especially in the reproductive area, what we need to do to fight them is to somehow take the external environment that is bad for them into the body. We would need to limit the damage as much as possible, but enough to hamper or disable a virus.
This is where irradiation may be useful. UV light is usually absorbed by the skin, so anything past this point it won’t reach or affect. For a touch-based virus this may be adequate, but most travel out of the light. The electromagnetic spectrum ranges from Radio to cosmic rays, 1000hz to the yoctohertz range, our visible light being between 400-700nm. As previously said the sort of UV light that viruses seem susceptible to are the 200-400nm range, but this generally isn’t penetrating enough. So, the next level up is the x-ray band, around the attohertz level. Just enough that would allow penetration to the internal parts of the body, but not enough to take a picture. We would need to work out levels of full body exposure that would maximise damage to the target, but minimise damage to the host.
We know that gamma radiation has been use to sterilise food in the past, but we don’t need to go that far, just to hamper or neuter as any of the higher energy spectrum is damaging, but if it is incurring damage, our repair systems work better if they are not fighting a number of enemies at once.
Most really damaging things produce cytokines, that in the animal body race to the damaged areas to prevent further damage and produce similar locally. Things like viruses, especially the more serious ones, produce what can in some ways be called either a ‘anaphylactic shock,’ or ‘toxic shock reaction,’ where the cytokines are produced in very large numbers, travelling to the site of the infection where they produce a lot more, damaging the area rather than allowing repair, in a cytokine storm. A bit like a gridlock, where the ambulances are stranded on the outskirts.
Things like antihistamines, adrenaline known as epinephrine, seem to act as moderators to traffic, allowing the help to get through and get it running again. So, I wonder if a combined therapy might work in cases of severe problems. That is; Combined doses of loratadine, cetirizine and cimetidine with low level X-Ray treatment or gamma ray treatment.
The x-rays may not be in the photographic band, but just enough to allow body saturation to a point, then turned over to do both sides. The idea really being to limit and neuter, rather than to remove or kill.