There are some interesting observations on the Covid-19 disease revealing that it doesn’t appear to be normal pneumonia or ARDS (Acute respiratory distress syndrome), but a failure of the body’s oxygenation system, due to an attack by the virus on the hemoglobin, transporting oxygen and CO2 through the blood. Check the video below with observations made by a ICU physician in New York.
What is being observed is that the lungs of the patient seem to be mechanically ok, and that the problem manifests itself rather as acute high altitude sickness.
Here’s a scientific paper describing the situation from a biochemical point of view, hinting at a failure of the body’s oxygenation system when proteins of the virus attacks the hemoglobin and its function of carrying oxygen and CO2.
The conclusion is that ventilators, which are used to help lungs with mechanical work if the muscles are too weak, might not be very effective for treating Covid-19, or might even do harm, unless we find the cures that repair the oxygenation process, or stop the virus attack on this system.
Another hint is this AI-based study identifying three top risk factors for developing a severe illness in Covid-19 (and it is not age, sex or the things we would expect, but hemoglobin turns up again):
“A mildly elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (a liver enzyme), the presence of myalgias (body aches), and an elevated hemoglobin (red blood cells), in this order, are the clinical features, on presentation, that are the most predictive. The predictive models that learned from historical data of patients from these two hospitals achieved 70% to 80% accuracy in predicting severe cases.”
Link to this paper here: http://techscience.com/cmc/v63n1/38464
If this hypothesis would turn out to be correct, there should be a possibility to cure the Covid-19 disease without ICU and save thousands of lives, before we will be able to develop a vaccine about 18-24 months from now.