By Patrick Quanten MD

Let's start with a medically well-known fact: viruses aren't themselves alive. They are smaller and simpler than bacteria and by themselves they are inert and harmless. So, the immediate question then has to be: How can you "catch" a virus if it isn't a living thing?

The answer is: You can't.

Experimenters have incubated viruses for the common cold, placed them directly on the mucous lining of the nose, and found that their subjects came down with colds only 12% of the time. These odds could not be increased by exposing the subjects to cold drafts, putting their feet in ice water to give them chills, or anything else that was purely physical.

Swine flu is a known viral infection, which was considered non-dangerous and normal, but for an unknown reason during an outbreak in the spring of 1918 in the US it mutated into a severe form that killed a large number of people. The medical authorities were pressurised into developing a vaccine in order to stop the spread of this now lethal disease. They conducted experiments on volunteers, which they recruited from a military prison on Deer Island in Boston harbour. The prisoners were promised complete pardon if they survived a series of rigorous tests. In order to infect the volunteers with the deadly virus they were injected with infected lung tissue taken from the dead. If this failed they had their eyes, nose and mouth sprayed with infectious aerosols. After that, they had their throats swabbed with discharges taken from the sick and dying. If all else failed, they were required to sit open-mouthed while a gravely ill person was sat up slightly and made to cough into their faces. There were sixty-two chosen volunteers. Not a single one caught the flu. The only person who did was the doctor who died soon afterwards.

One of the mysteries of viral epidemics is how it can erupt suddenly in places separated by oceans, mountain ranges and other earthly impediments. Although a virus is not alive in itself, it also loses its potential of hijacking the genetic material of a living host cell within a few hours of being outside the host body. The commonly heard answer that it travels in "carriers" (people who have no symptoms but carry and distribute the virus) cannot be proven and after decades of using it as the explanation remains nothing more than a shaky and desperate theory. It is made even more unlikely in the light of the fact that you cannot catch a viral infection, as proven above, so even if it did travel that way, how would it "jump" from the carrier to the victim? Furthermore, how does a virus manage to lie low for several months, in the case of HIV or variant CJD we are to believe it can be up to 20 years, before erupting so explosively at more or less the same time all over? What's the trigger and why instantaneously in all those different places?

It also is a fact that some of these viral epidemics are more devastating to people in their prime than they are to infants and elderly people, who are generally considered to be more vulnerable. For some unknown reason people with a reduced resistance, a ‘weaker’ immune system, are seemingly more protected against infections. This has never been explained.

Sometimes viral infections that we consider eradicated will return. There are plenty of examples of this, even in our modern times, but a well-documented story is the Russian virus known as H1N1 which caused outbreaks over wide areas in 1933. It seemed to disappear and then return with devastating effects in the 1950’s and again in the 1970’s. Nobody knows where it went in the mean time. In the in-between periods it was never found anywhere. These phenomena are explained by using the tale of ‘dormant viruses’, but nobody has ever come close to proving that this could be a possibility. This raises the same old two questions: Why did it not cause any symptoms wherever it was hiding? and If it was hiding somewhere, how did it spread so quickly when it did, as you can't catch it - not from a human, not from an animal?

What do we know about Viruses?

We have already mentioned that they are very small, and they weren't detected until 1943 with the invention of the electron microscope. Many, including HIV, have ten or fewer genes, whereas the simplest bacteria require several thousand. To create a living thing you need properly organised DNA of a substantial quantity, which the virus hasn't got.

We define "a living organism" as something that performs three tasks in succession: taking in stuff (eating, breathing), metabolising stuff (digesting, absorbing), and excreting waste. A fourth necessary task is reproduction. A virus doesn't do any of these. No virus does. Within the viral capsule there are no other structures that are required for a metabolic process. There is no activity at all inside the viral capsule.

Not only doesn't it look structurally as if its alive, it also isn't alive in physiological terms.

So what is it then? As we all know, viruses can have devastating effects on the health of plants, animals - great and small, including bacteria - and humans. How does it produce these effects, if it is not alive, can't be caught and doesn't reproduce?

Known scientific facts about viruses and the way they function are obtained from chemical analysis and looking at still pictures from electron microscopes. The story is pieced together, not actually observed! This means that what you are told happens, is actually a theory at best, and a fantasy story at worst. What has actually, in simple terms, been discovered?

  • Viruses contain either RNA or DNA, a small amount and mostly one or the other, but there are exceptions. Bits of genetic material of whatever kind, really; but only bits.
  • Viruses are marked species and organ specific, and on the whole, viruses infecting plants, insects, rickettsiae, bacteria and other animals are distinct from their human counterparts, but this is now thought not to be entirely the case. They are specific, but then again they are not.
  • Viruses may be naked with the genome only protected by a protein capsid, or they may have a lipid envelop surrounding the capsid. Bits of genetic material in a thin simple bag, and sometimes put in a fatty bubble.
  • Viruses are seen to be "encapsulated" by the body cells that have specific receptors for the virus. Once inside the cell, it seems that the virus capsule is removed and the exposed bit of DNA or RNA is "read" and the host cell seems to duplicate it. These bits of genetic materials are encapsulated once again, and with the host cell bursting with complete viruses it will explode and the viruses are spilled into the cellular surroundings. So, we see a lot of genetic bits within the cell; these bits are then encapsulated and eventually the cell burst open to release the now bagged up genetic material into the extra-cellular environment.
  • Viruses in the intercellular environment are engulfed by cells from the immune system (macrophages and lymphocytes), which collect them and destroy them. These bags that contain bits of genetic material are collected into cells from the immune system.
  • Viruses are very difficult to demonstrate (they are extremely small) and the diagnosis of viral infection is mostly made on clinical symptoms alone and the assumption that it fits into a known disease pattern for which there is no causative factor known. Virtually every time a diagnosis of viral infection is pronounced no proof is offered for this diagnosis.
  • Materials for virus isolation must be obtained as early as possible during illness. It is at the very early stages of the illness that the highest titres are found and the most likely it is one can produce a positive test result. There are more viruses present right at the beginning of the illness than at any other stage of the disease process. If the viruses were multiplying you would expect the number to rise as the disease developed.
  • Identification of viruses is done in laboratories by measuring the level of antibodies against specific viruses, not by measuring or demonstrating the virus itself. Measuring a higher protection level is diagnosed as the illness itself!

Summarising this scientific knowledge, we can say that viral infections are not diagnosed by finding the specific virus, but by guessing a virus is the cause of the symptoms. In practical terms, this happens when the doctor doesn't really know what the cause is.

As regards the story of the viral infection is concerned, we now know that as soon as the symptoms start the number of viruses will very quickly be dramatically reduced. There is no evidence of rapid number proliferation once the disease manifests itself.

Before we move on to explain the real virus story, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of what we now know:

  1. A virus is not alive.
  2. You cannot catch a virus.
  3. A virus disintegrates very quickly outside the host.
  4. A virus consists of small bits of genetic material, variable from virus to virus, surrounded by a thin coating, either protein (water-soluble) or fat.
  5. Viral materials are seen in large numbers inside the host cell.
  6. A full host cell breaks open and the viruses are spilled into the environment.
  7. In the environment the viruses are bagged up by the cells of the immune system (See "The Inflammation Process").

The Virus Story

If viruses are not living things they cannot multiplicate and they don't need a specific environment to "survive". They cannot appear from nowhere and they can't spread and infect other cells.

When a cell becomes diseased and the function of the cell begins to falter, it may start to come apart at the seams. Bits of its essential structure, the DNA and RNA, may become detached as it is falling apart. The cell will try and clean up these bits by preparing them for the rubbish bin. The small pieces of genetic material, which are now floating around in the intracellular fluid, will be isolated by means of encapsulating them. As the cellular disintegration continues more and more of these bits are seen inside the cell and more and more small "bags" of useless genetic material will appear. Once the cell is totally dysfunctional and filled with rubbish the cellular wall itself bursts and the contents will be spilled into the cellular environment. Here, the cleanup continues by packaging these small bags up even further into what has been called the lymphocytes and macrophages of the immune system. These large vesicles now drift away into the lymphatic fluid and the blood stream, from where they will be filtered out at appropriate draining stations, like the spleen and the lymph nodes. This process continues until the whole lot has been cleared.

This explains why the numbers of "viruses" is the highest at the very beginning of the disease and continues to decline steadily throughout the disease process, even without treatment. This also accounts for the thousand and thousand of different "viruses" that have been identified and for the "mutation" of viruses. Viral behaviour is essentially totally unpredictable because the cells and the way they disintegrate is never the same, not because this is an animal that changes its behaviour so quickly and intelligently that nothing can keep up with it. It also does away with the idea that the "virus" can lay dormant for an indefinite period of time and become activated without any triggers or reasons having been identified.

How do we then explain "viral epidemics"? Why is it then that we get a cold the day after someone in the office starts to cough and sneeze a lot?

The medical profession knows that viruses have incubation periods. These are said to vary from virus to virus from a few days to several years. A cold virus has an average incubation period of about a week. Now, first of all, you can't catch a virus; and secondly, if you could catch the cold virus, it would take a week before it had established itself within your body and starts to show symptoms. Consequently, your cold cannot have been caused by the other person's cold in the office the day before!

What is seen and has been named "a virus" starts after the cellular structure begins to disintegrate. Why does a cell start to fall apart? Because it is diseased. The disease is already there, long before any viral particles show up in any pictures. So, then we have to ask the question why the cell has become diseased? The answer to this lies in the build-up of toxic material within the cellular structure. As the cell gets loaded up with inappropriate material it will eventually be unable to cope and it will start to fall to pieces. It is exactly those pieces that are photographed by the electron microscope and have been named "viruses".

The influences that can lead to an increased pressure on the system are many and are varied. They range from the weather, to living and working environment, to life style and diet, to the balance of activity and rest, to mental balance, stress and worries. Because a lot of these influences, such as working conditions and the weather, are general circumstances which affect all of us, it is very likely that a great number of us, in the same environment, will fall ill at or around the same time, succumbing to the environmental influences. Add to this that people who are working in the same environment are very likely to have similar life styles and another factor has been identified explaining why similar disease pattern occur within certain groups of people at certain times. On top of that, we now know that worry reduces our immunity capacity and increases the likelihood of illness. The belief that, if one person close to you has a cold you are going to get it, increases the likelihood of this actually happening dramatically, as you become more vulnerable through the immune reducing effect of the worry itself.

Epidemics occur because people in similar circumstances, living environments and conditions, have similar imbalances within their systems, leading directly to similar disease patterns. This causes fear and apprehension all around them, making others more vulnerable to start showing a breakdown of health themselves. The disease is spreading. More accurately, the fear of the disease is spreading first, resulting in a lowered resistance, which allows each individual's imbalances to show up through the inability to cope with the problems the system has already been faced with for a long time. More and more people are becoming ill and showing signs of the fact that their bodies have been under extreme pressure for quite a while to maintain health. The showing of an illness is the end result of a long process, even an "acute" illness, of a slow deterioration of the system's normal functioning.Disease is a process, not a state of being.

It is time to learn the facts of life.

It is time to do away with ignorance and the resulting fear.

It is time to focus on individual health and the factors that influence it.

Viruses are dead, but diseases are very much alive. Let's concentrate on the living, not the dead, if we want to be healthy.

November 2004


Patrick Quanten has been a general practitioner since 1983. The combination of medical insight and extensive studies of Complementary Therapies have opened new perspectives on health care, all of which came to fruition when it blended with Yogic and Ayurvedic principles. Patrick gave up his medical licence in November 2001.
Patrick also holds qualifications in Ayurvedic Medicine, Homeopathy, Reiki, Ozon Therapy and Thai Massage. He is an expert on Ear Candling and he is also well-read in the field of other hard sciences. His life's work involves finding similarities between the Ancient Knowledge and modern Western science.

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