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Letter to the Editor

Why is COVID-19 virus so deadly for cancer patients?

Yan, Siruia; Zhang, Yingb; Liu, Qiuyuna

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European Journal of Cancer Prevention: July 2020 - Volume 29 - Issue 4 - p 365
doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000605
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The COVID-19 virus kills mostly the elderly with cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes as well as individuals with cancer (Sidaway, 2020). Notably, several proteins of this virus possess high valine plus glycine content (Wan et al., 2020), which is also a feature of the causative factors of heart disease. Valine and glycine attract calcium via secondary chemical bonding with carbonyl oxygen (Wan et al., 2020), giving rise to stressful calcium oxalate in susceptible individuals. Calcium oxalate crystals were visualized within 5 h after death in the thyroids in 85.2% of the disease sufferers aged 70 or older (Katoh et al., 1993). Cancer cells generate excessive amount of oxalate to counteract mutagenic strong acids such as HCl (Castellaro et al., 2015; Wan et al., 2019), and thus confer stress to normal cells. The lungs of the deceased patients are very sticky, which could be the cause of respiratory failure (Wan et al., 2020). The viscosity could be caused by the extensive secondary chemical bonding between calcium and the carbonyl oxygen atoms of glycine and valine (Wan et al., 2020). A starch/vitamin diet or fasting supplemented with boiled rice water for short period of time could reduce or halt the production of virions by limiting the intake of essential or all amino acids and decreasing the rate of viral protein synthesis (Wan et al., 2020). RNA interference experiments can be conducted to lower generation of oxalate via energy metabolism prior to clinical trials.


We thank Yan Shi for editing.

This work was supported by grants from the Guangzhou Science and Technology Program (201804010328) to Q.L. and National Science and Technology Major Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2017ZX10103011) to Y.Z.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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