Expert Virologist: Here's Everything You Need To Understand About Coronavirus

In this video, Chris interviews expert virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen, of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Chris and Dr. Rasmussen dive deep into the science of the covid-19 virus, what it does once in the body and what potential treatments show promise:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Excellent interview! I was surprised to hear that before the lockdown the R0 in China was considered to be between 2 and 3, and that China managed to push it below 1 which is how they eventually got it under control. I thought we were hearing that the R0 was as high as 7 and that China’s draconian measures couldn’t defeat it. I hope all of that is true.

She is able to explain virology in an understandable way. I will watch this one again.

Those dang bats! Guess I’m going to stop building bat houses.

Excellent guest - top questioning and interaction. Well done.

Her objection to masks were save them for HCP and incorrect usage. Well there are no masks for sale to the general public so saving them for HCP is a red herring. Improper usage reminded me of my luddite friend who did not want a cell phone because people in restaurants would sit there and use their phones the whole time, another red herring.
Then when it came to Hydroxychloroquine she cited the case in Arizona. Really?
Otherwise I thought she was well spoken and gave excellent answers to the good questions

There will never be studies on alternative therapies (ie alternative to big pharma) because studies cost a lot of money. That money comes either from big pharma or big government. Big government is a wholly owned subsidiary of big pharma. There is no big profit for either entity in studying alternative therapies which cannot be patented and can be produced by a lot of people for very low cost.

I did not know until now that these medications upregulated ACE-2 receptors. In a general view this makes perfect sense now that I think about it. The gender differences in CV-19 disease has not made a whole lot of sense to me other than the fact that men have about a 10 year head start on cardiovascular disease than women. I take an ARB (Micardis) for mild high blood pressure. I’ve also intentionally lost 20 lbs. (from 200 to 180 lbs) over the past 2 months…down to a more healthy BMI of 24. Losing weight is probably the most effective thing the average person can do to lower their blood pressure via a non-pharmaceutical intervention. So, weighing my personal risks versus potential benefits I will no longer be taking Micardis given how important the ACE-2 receptors appear to be with Covid-19. I’m clearly NOT giving medical advice to others because everyone’s personal situation is different. For example, someone who has known cardiovascular disease and poorly controlled blood pressure should probably not stop taking these medications. Same thing goes for the those who have just have hypertension alone but is very poorly controlled. ACE inhibitors are extremely common and effective blood pressure medicines, and are one of the best class of medications in all of medicine. A majority of people with cardiovascular disease are on either an ACE inhibitor or an ARB as they not only have excellent anti-hypertensive properties, but also help treat heart failure via actual remodeling of the heart. Again, cardiovascular disease and hypertension are two of the most prevalent comorbidities associated with poor Covid-19 outcomes. To me, my instincts as a general internist for 17 years is that the upregulation of ACE-2 receptors is a much more likely explanation in the gender differences than increased narrowing in one’s arteries. Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m not aware of link between systemic hypertension (not to be confused with pulmonary hypertension as they are two completely different things) and ARDS…the dreaded process that occurs in those with poor CV outcomes. Of course, we are working with only fuzzy data, but in times like this it may not be prudent to wait for solid double blinded randomized clinical studies. However, I would think that the information on an association with ACE-I’s and ARBs and Covid-19 should be able to be put together very quickly. This could be an extremely valuable piece of information.,_incyte_to_test_jakavi_for_coronavirus-linked_cytokine_storm_1335533
Novartis and Incyte are planning to launch a clinical study to test the potential of Jakavi (ruxolitinib) in patients with COVID-19 associated cytokine storm, a type of severe immune overreaction that can result from the infection and may contribute to respiratory compromise in some patients.
According to the Swiss drugmaker, preclinical and preliminary clinical evidence suggests that the JAK inhibitor could reduce the number of patients requiring intensive care and mechanical ventilation.
Phase III Trial
Research referenced in the above article.
COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression
Cytokine storm

Acetazolamide, Nifedipine and Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors: Rationale for Their Utilization as Adjunctive Countermeasures in the Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

In light of this, a countermeasure that has been shown to be effective in high altitude illness is Acetazolamide.

Acetazolamide has a myriad of effects on different organ systems [20]. It potently reduces hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction [21]. Improved minute ventilation and expired vital capacity has been shown in climbers taking Acetazolamide as well [22].

Other therapeutics that have been shown to be effective in the analogous condition of HAPE and that are directed towards decreased pulmonary pressure include Nifedipine and Phosphodiesterase inhibitors (Table (Table2)2) [25,26].
Similar patterns of pulmonary disease between HAPE and COVID-19

HAPE: High altitude pulmonary edema; COVID-19: Coronavirus disease 2019; Pao2:FiO2 ratio: Arterial oxygen partial pressure to fractional inspired oxygen ratio; PaCO2 level: Partial pressure of carbon dioxide; Chest CT: Computed tomography of chest.

Other therapeutics that have been shown to be effective in the analogous condition of HAPE and that are directed towards decreased pulmonary pressure include Nifedipine and Phosphodiesterase inhibitors (Table (Table2)2) [25,26].
Parameter HAPE COVID-19
Pao2:FiO2 ratio Decreased Decreased
Hypoxia Present Present
Tachypnea Increased Increased
PaCO2 level Decreased Decreased
Ground Glass Opacities on Chest CT Present Present
Patchy Infiltrates on Chest X-RAY Present Present
Fibrinogen levels/Fibrin formation Increased Increased
Alveolar compromise Present Present
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Development in Severe Disease Present Present

Masks are necessary but the procedures on how you use the masks determine if you will be successful at preventing infection.

I am all for free enterprise. If someone wants to market colloidal silver as a cure all. I am all for it… Buyer beware. People buy stupid things all the time… AND what may be a stupid buy for you and me , someone else is satisfied with. The colloidal silver was just an example… For all I know it works. I mean, yes silver has been used long before the advent of antibiotics and definitely is antimicrobial. So if you could suspend it in a colloid and take it orally, the science makes some sense… But only way to know is in practice. Never the less, there are tons of solutions to the same problem… And who is to say if something works. What I do know , is people would not be interested in these if “conventional medicine was doing its job” So WtF are they so threatened?? about the 26$ you spend on a supplement … when a single non-productive hospital ER visit or dr visit can be hundreds or thousands of dollars?? They are worried you will get scammed? The US for profit medical is much more of scam, I am offended by any medical person saying such about supplements. I have been ill for 30 years , and I have tried drugs. Not one has given me a single benefit while causing nothing but severe side-effects… Meanwhile, I have taken many supplements , some life changing. I manage all my conditions with supplements. And if they were removed from the market , I would be dead.
Moving on , regarding the right for people to manage their health as they see fit… There are tons of “real” studies showing many supplements do work for disease. There are natural compounds that have anti-inflammatory abilities, immune modulating properties, neuro-protective, cardio protective, hepa protective etc… In fact, NAC is used for tylenol induced liver damage in the hospital. And , any medical person who says that Vitamin D, Zinc, Vitamin C and Calcium and Magnesium and virtually all vitamins and minerals are not involved in proper immune response, and all biological responses for that matter , should leave medicine all together.
PS, I get the safety bit. I am thinking most people will not drink a gallon of gasoline because it may cure them. But as my Nutritionist, RD wife stated, everything will kill you if you take too much . Water can actually be lethal if you drink too much. Salt has a lethal dose as well. of course you need to use things in moderation and titrate up if needed. But their are actually supplements that are so safe, they have given incredible amounts without any known lethal dose. So, if you are stupid enough to take a whole bottle of tylenol, I can tell you how safe that is too. And by the way, aspirin is well used the medical profession for hundreds of years, and like most medicines, were derived from actions found in herbal botanicals. So to say, the medical profession has not proven any herbs or supplements work, is a joke. As big Pharma tries to patent the effects of such compounds … all the time.

Thank you Chris - very informative, you guided the conversation unobtrusively to cover a good range of questions. She is obviously very knowledgeable in her field(s), although also obviously with fairly conventional points of view in any areas she hasn’t studied. What has been so valuable for all of us in following your research on this, is that you haven’t limited yourself to a single area of study, but have given us a broad range of ways to understand it. And even if some of it lacked “double-blind studies” at this point, your common sense and objectivity has made it possible to assess likelihoods and sensible paths to follow. It’s very much appreciated, and this interview gave us yet another angle of view plus a lot of well-explained detail. Thank you again!

If you ever decide to switch callings, I think you would be equally successful as a high level diplomat.
She is obviously a very bright and knowledgeable woman and the interview was very informative but it was interesting to observe the programming that is in place and how it influences her thinking processes in certain areas.

Takeaways from Ms. Rasmussen: 1) IV Vitamin C is crap but luckily it won’t kill you, if you’re going to die, what the hell; 2) whereas wearing a mask definitely can kill you; 3) re: the WHO and CDC, just suck harder; 4) mice are dying in really strange ways; 5) big shout out to history, might have to look at some soon!

In the video, Chris expresses a concern about the experimental design of Didier Raoult’s study. But I wonder if Chris realizes that Raoult has already published a second study, with 80 patients, in an attempt to answer the criticisms raised about the first study?
Chris is wondering about the mix of patients that Dr. Lev Zelenko treated in his practice. Zelenko answers the questions in this video. They’re all high risk patients, greater than sixty years old or with pre-existing conditions. Roughly half tested positive for covid-19, the other half were exhibiting the characteristic symptoms. With the infection spreading aggressively in Zelenko’s religious community, there wasn’t always time to wait for testing. But it wouldn’t seem responsible for the good doctor to assume those patients just had the flu, now would it? You’d expect 50% hospitalizations and 10% deaths in this population. Zelenko’s result: 669 patients, 2 hospitalizations, zero deaths.
OK, so maybe there’s still room for a reasonable doubt. But there’s been a consistent theme throughout these videos: sometimes in a fast-developing situation, it’s best to take action based on less than perfect information. Why shouldn’t this apply to treatment strategies? Would you encourage a patient in a high risk category to wait for double blind peer reviewed studies?
The news seems to be spreading among doctors in the field. Here’s a poll of 6,277 physicians worldwide, of whom 35% have treated at least one covid19 positive patient. And out of those approx. 2200 doctors, 37% named chloroquine or hydroxycholorquine as the most effective available treatment. Azithromycin was named second most frequently at 32%.

After testing positive, getting treatment, and recovering well… a shout out to hydroxychloroquine + Zinc;

Very useful information, and a shining example of how we can discuss these things in a sane and informed manner.

Chloroquine may or may not be useful in a clinical setting, and we need more research - and I don’t include a poll of doctors who mostly have never treated a Covid patient in that definition!
But the tenor of some of the comments here suggests something beyond studies in a clinical setting. Are people suggesting we should encourage people to self medicate? My wife is a mental health nurse and prescriber, and she is more than a little alarmed at the thought of lots of unsupervised use of chloroquine. It can have severe psychological effects and should not be taken lightly.
Edit: To be a bit clearer, I’m aiming at this comment by jerryr: “ Would you encourage a patient in a high risk category to wait for double blind peer reviewed studies?” My reply: are you encouraging patients in a high risk category to start taking chloroquine?

This image (below) was sent to me by a nurse working in the Thai hospital system. It outlines the treatment guidelines established for COVID-19 patients.
There were 3 panels - I’m only posting the first, for patients with no risk factors and no pneumonia. I’m told these treatment guidelines were developed by the national specialists in epidemiology from Maihidol University in Thailand. All hospitals in Thailand use these guidelines to treat COVID patients.
Along with a list of tests, the guidelines include Hydroxychloroquine with a double dose on day 1, and 2x 200mg for 4 more days. These guidelines were issued on 3/20.
They also recommend Darunavir + Ritonavir or Lopinavir + Ritonavir. (I’m not 100% sure about that specific section).
This should not be interpreted as medical advice! I am not telling you to use the one section of these guidelines that happens to be in English and self-medicate!
My only point: HCQ has been selected by experts in other places in the world presumably after a great deal of careful consideration.
The overall Thai healthcare system is rated as #6 in the world. Everyone gets free (but rationed) healthcare. “Your first heart attack is free. If you have a second one, you have to pay…” The private healthcare system is good too.

“You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”