[Taxacom] covariates for corona virus virulence (and "deadliest genera")

Kenneth Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 6 09:35:59 CST 2020

Hi All,
      Still very little attention in the news media about how many of the coronavirus deaths are due to smoking (or other pollution).  WHO (sometimes nicknamed the "World Hysteria Organization") and the overly hysterical news media seem to be spreading a "chicken little" panic that is doing more harm than good.   And the relatively quick and widespread coronavirus testing in South Korea seems to show a mortality rate of less then 1%.  It would probably be even less than that if 36.2% of South Korean males didn't smoke.
      In any case, there is no reason to add genus Betacoronavirus to the list of deadliest genera.  I can't imagine the death toll in 2020 will be anywhere near 20,000 (much less 50,000, which is the lower cutoff for my list).  But I have added genus Aedes to the list of deadliest genera (see below).  Homo via Nicotiana smoking is still second on the list.

                                            Deadliest genera to humans in the 21st Century

Homo via bad dietary choices (especially those derived from Saccharomyces, Bos, Zea, Saccharum, and/or Beta, i.e. excess consumption of sugars, alcohol, and/or red meat) (resulting in over 13,000,000 human deaths per year).
Homo via Nicotiana, causing cancers from tobacco smoking and chewing (over 5,000,000 human deaths per year).
Homo (humans killing over 400,000 humans per year, plus about 800,000 suicides, totaling over 1,200,000 deaths per year).
Mycobacterium, especially M. tuberculosis (over 1,200,000 human deaths per year).
Lentavirus, causing HIV infections (over 900,000 deaths per year).
Streptococcus, causing pneumonia and streptococcal meningitis (over 500,000 deaths per year).
Plasmodium (Anopheles the vector) causing malaria (about 400,000 deaths per year).
Alphainfluenzavirus, causing flu (290,000-645,000 human deaths per year).
Treponema, causing syphilis (about 100,000 deaths per year, plus over 200,000 stillbirths and neonatal deaths; total over 300,000 deaths).
Rotavirus, causing enteritis (over 150,000 human deaths per year).
Salmonella, causing typhoid fever (over 100,000 human deaths per year).
Neisseria, causing meningococcal meningitis (about 75,000 human deaths per year).
Haemophilus, causing type b meningitis (about 70,000 human deaths per year).
Entamoeba, causing amoebic dysentery (50,000-100,000 humans per year).
Clostridium, causing tetanus (about 60,000 human deaths per year).
Norovirus (over 50,000 human deaths per year; with some estimates as high as 200,000).
Cryptosporidium, causing cryptosporidiosis (over 50,000 human deaths per year).
Aedes (carrying several viral diseases) (over 50,000 human death per year).
Schistosoma, causing schistosomiasis (about 50,000 deaths; about 200,000 humans in the year 2000; but treatment programs have reduced the number).
Bordetella, causing whooping cough (about 50,000 human deaths per year).
Shigella, causing shigellosis (about 50,000 human deaths per year).

From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> on behalf of Kenneth Kinman via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2020 9:20 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] possible covariates for corona virus virulence

Hi All,
       It seems that smoking causes increased expression of coronavirus receptors in the lungs of smokers.  In the case of the MERS virus, it involved the DPP4 receptor, while in SARS and the new coronavirus, it probably is due to the ACE2 (or a related) receptor.  The culprit in this "increased expression" is thought to be nicotine.   About 50% of Chinese men smoke (apparently even higher among male doctors; almost 60%).  Thus it is not surprising that they (and even their wives) are at higher risk of contracting and dying from the new coronavirus.  There are few (if any) deaths, among children 0-9 years old.  The majority of deaths are in patients over 60 years old, especially those with pre-existing lung or heart problems.
      More older people also tend to die from the influenza pandemics we see every single year, except influenza causes far more deaths (up to 650,000 deaths a year worldwide).  Even if the new coronavirus causes 5,000 or more deaths this year, it hardly compares with all those influenza deaths.

Increased Expression of the MERS Coronavirus Receptor DPP4 in Lungs of Smokers and Patients with COPD:  https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/ajrccm-conference.2017.195.1_MeetingAbstracts.A7357


From: Timothy Dickinson <tim.dickinson at utoronto.ca>
Sent: Monday, February 3, 2020 5:14 PM
To: Kenneth Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com>; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Subject: Re: possible covariates for corona virus virulence

good point. children nevertheless have relatively undamaged lungs (short exposure times), whereas mortality is high in older patients with often (?) life-long exposures to tobacco smoke and/or pollution. let us know if you succeed in finding relevant data!


On 2020-02-03 6:08 p.m., Kenneth Kinman wrote:
Hi Timothy,

      It is interesting to note that the severity of cases and the death rate from the new coronavirus are very low among children.   Children would also be exposed to the pollution, so that makes me think that smoking is perhaps more of a factor than pollution (although being a smoker and also exposed to heavy pollution would be a double whammy for adult smokers).
       The same seems to have been true of the SARS coronavirus:  "A notable feature of the 2003 global SARS outbreak was the relative paucity of cases reported among children."   Anyway, I am still trying to find out if there are any numbers available on smokers vs. non-smokers among those who died from the various coronavirus outbreaks.
                          --------------Ken Kinman


From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu><mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> on behalf of Timothy Dickinson via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu><mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Monday, February 3, 2020 12:14 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu><mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Subject: [Taxacom] possible covariates for corona virus virulence

I have been struck by mention in BBC articles that the first Chinese
corona virus victim in Wuhan was a heavy smoker, among other things.
more recently...

<Tim Dickinson
<Senior Curator Emeritus
<ROM Green Plant Herbarium (TRT)
<Department of Natural History
<Royal Ontario Museum
<100 Queen's Park
<Toronto  ON
<Phone:  (416) 782 1607     FAX:  (416) 586 7921
<E-mail:  tim.dickinson at utoronto.ca<mailto:tim.dickinson at utoronto.ca>  -  ORCID ID http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1366-145X
<URL: http://www.rom.on.ca/en/collections-research/rom-staff/tim-dickinson
<URL: http://www.eeb.utoronto.ca/people/d-faculty/Dickinson.htm?quot;%20title=
<URL: http://labs.eeb.utoronto.ca/dickinson/NABFH-I/ (publications on Crataegus)

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