Background and aim: COVID-19 public health policy has focused on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its effects on human health while environmental factors have been largely ignored. In considering the epidemiological triad (agent-host-environment) applicable to all disease, we investigated a possible environmental factor in the COVID-19 pandemic: ambient radiofrequency radiation from wireless communication systems including microwaves and millimeter waves. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic, surfaced in Wuhan, China shortly after the implementation of city-wide 5G (fifth generation of wireless communications radiation), and rapidly spread globally, initially demonstrating a statistical correlation to international communities with recently established 5G networks. In this study, we examined the peer-reviewed scientific literature on the detrimental bioeffects of wireless communications radiation (WCR) and identified several mechanisms by which WCR may have contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic as a toxic environmental cofactor. By crossing boundaries between the disciplines of biophysics and pathophysiology, we present evidence that WCR may: (1) cause morphologic changes in erythrocytes including echinocyte and rouleaux formation that can contribute to hypercoagulation; (2) impair microcirculation and reduce erythrocyte and hemoglobin levels exacerbating hypoxia; (3) amplify immune system dysfunction, including immunosuppression, autoimmunity, and hyperinflammation; (4) increase cellular oxidative stress and the production of free radicals resulting in vascular injury and organ damage; (5) increase intracellular Ca2+ essential for viral entry, replication, and release, in addition to promoting pro-inflammatory pathways; and (6) worsen heart arrhythmias and cardiac disorders.
Relevance for patients: In short, WCR has become a ubiquitous environmental stressor that we propose may have contributed to adverse health outcomes of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 and increased the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we recommend that all people, particularly those suffering from SARS-CoV-2 infection, reduce their exposure to WCR as much as reasonably achievable until further research better clarifies the systemic health effects associated with chronic WCR exposure.
1. College of Integrative Medicine & Health Sciences, Saybrook University, Pasadena CA;
Institute for Frontier Science, Oakland, CA, USA
2. Department of Radiology, Hamot Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Erie, PA; Radiology Partners, Phoenix, AZ, USA
College of Integrative Medicine & Health Sciences, Saybrook University, Pasadena CA; Institute for Frontier Science, Oakland, CA, USA
Michal Heger Department of Pharmaceutics, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Department of Pharmaceutics, Jiaxing University Medical College, Zhejiang, China