Contentious COVID-19 Drugs Being Antimalarial May Not Be A Coincidence

Authored by Marina Zhang via The Epoch Times

The COVID-19 recommendations hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and now artemisinin all have one thing in common: they are antimalarial drugs or have such properties. Yet studies suggest that this may not be a mere coincidence; malaria and COVID-19 may be more similar than people may realize.

Malaria Versus COVID-19

From the outset, malaria and COVID-19 are very distinct diseases.

Malaria is a parasitic disease. An infection starts when an individual is bitten by a mosquito carrying a parasite from the Plasmodium genus. Upon infection, the parasite first goes to the liver and multiplies in liver cells. Then it migrates to the bloodstream, invades and proliferates in red blood cells, and causes these cells to expand and burst.

Common malaria symptoms such as fever, chills, and sweating occur during the blood-stage infection. Complications include anaemia, and on rare occasions, cerebral malaria, liver failure, fluid buildup in the lungs, and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

COVID-19, on the other hand, is a viral disease. Infection occurs primarily through the inhalation of contaminated droplets. The virus invades the body through the nasal cavities, entering the upper and then lower respiratory tracts.

Inflammation of the lungs ensues as the body’s immune cells fight off the infection. The person’s oxygen levels start dropping as inflammation worsens in the advent of a cytokine storm, and the lungs become damaged. Some of the virus can also go into the bloodstream and invade other organs, causing systemic inflammation and damage.

Several Commonalities

While one mainly affects blood cells and the other primarily affects the lungs, both diseases are characterized by a strong inflammatory response early in the infection, according to a 2022 paper in Frontiers in Immunology.

Symptoms-wise, both infections from malaria and COVID-19 can lead to fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, and muscle pain.

If inflammation is prolonged, the body will experience a significant increase in cytokines, and individuals can become severely injured or even die.

The two diseases are also similar in that they both sequester iron, use the same receptors in their pathogenesis, and even share similar structures in their proteins.

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