As we learn more about COVID-19, it pisses us off because it feels like its laundry list of symptoms just keeps growing, and the symptoms have no connection to each other. We just want to scream “Now you tell us it can cause
- loss of taste,
- sore throat,
- heart trouble,
- kidney problems,
- COVID brain,
- COVID Toes?
Aaaaaaaaa! What doesn’t it cause?”
But finally, thanks to a supercomputer, there is a theory out there that might be able to tie all these symptoms together!
Earlier this summer, the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee set about crunching data on more than 40,000 genes from 17,000 genetic samples in an effort to better understand Covid-19. Summit is the second-fastest computer in the world, but the process — which involved analyzing 2.5 billion genetic combinations — still took more than a week.
When Summit was done, researchers analyzed the results. It was, in the words of Dr. Daniel Jacobson, lead researcher and chief scientist for computational systems biology at Oak Ridge, a “eureka moment.” The computer had revealed a new theory about how Covid-19 impacts the body: the bradykinin hypothesis. The hypothesis provides a model that explains many aspects of Covid-19, including some of its most bizarre symptoms. It also suggests 10-plus potential treatments, many of which are already FDA approved.
To all those people who can’t figure out why scientists can’t solve this virus, think about that for a second. It took a wicked fast, mega powerful computer over a week to get through all the data it was fed.
I’m not a scientific genius, so maybe someone who knows more than me can drive a truck through this theory, but watching it use levels of this chemical called Bradykinin to draw lines between all the symptoms I had heard of, and a few I hadn’t, and explain it so well kind of made me jump up and down. For example, if Bradykinin is used to lower blood pressure, and this virus can cause your body to start filling you with Bradykinin, of course people’s blood pressure would go all low and weird. If Bradykinin is also known to give people a dry cough, and lose their sense of taste, that explains that too. I imagined this theory taking all the COVID-19 symptoms and tying them up in a bow. I think of myself as a logical person, so I like it a lot better when things make sense, and this stupid virus was not making a lot of sense before now. If this theory is proven correct, it sounds like it has the potential to save a lot of lives.
And in even better news, we already have a bunch of approved drugs to try out, now that we know that they might have an impact on the underlying processes that create all this soapy lung goop and leaky blood vessels and stuff.
And wouldn’t it be awesome if something as basic as Vitamin D could help? Vitamin frigging D!
I know everything has to be tested in carefully-calculated studies and all that, but wouldn’t it be awesome if the solution to treating COVID-19 was right under our…noses? Heh heh heh!