NC A&T Biologist Tells Truth About COVID-19

By Cash Michaels

April 11, 2020 11:32PM
Cash Michaels
Cash Michaels

We’ve seen many an expert doctor or scientist on television, lately explaining why, in their view, the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, is one of the most formidable biological infestations the world has ever had to deal with.

And virtually all of them have been either white, or from another country.

All but one, and his name is Dr. Joseph Graves, Jr., an African-American professor of Biological Sciences at NC A&T University in Greensboro.

Appearing early last week on the digital “Roland Martin Unfiltered” show, Dr. Graves - considered a widely published leading scholar in the social construction of race, and human aging - peeled back the mysteries of COVID-19, and warned that the mutating viral infestation is presenting more challenges than previously known, especially for poor communities of color.

Can COVID-19 Live On Surfaces for a Prolonged Period of time?

Yes, says Dr. Graves, approximately up to 72 hours, so the key to handling boxes, containers or packages is maintaining personal sanitation - thoroughly washing both sides of your hands, in between fingers and nails with soap. If you get packaging in the mail, leave it and/or open it outside of your home if you can, take out the contents and discard it afterwards. Certainly disinfect the contents if possible.

Even go so far as to empty the contents of a box of cereal, or packaged meat, into cleaned containers that you know and trust.

Best protection, Dr. Graves said, is to assume the worst when you come in contact with anything from outside your home, use soap and water religiously, and keep your hands clean after every handling. Make sure you never touch your nose or your eyes, key entry points for viral infections.

Is Plain Soap and Water Better Than Anti-Bacterial Cleaners for Viral Disinfecting?

Yes, because anti-bacterial cleaners normally don’t work as well against viruses as soap and water does.

What are Mutating Viruses (Like COVID-19)?

Viruses are nonliving genetic codes that are wrapped inside of a protein shell, Dr. Graves says. They become rogue genetic codes that copy themselves at the expense of the host organism (humans in this case). The protein machinery that replicates the DNA, or RNA in the case of the coronavirus, is incapable of doing that perfectly. “Those mistakes we call mutations,” Graves says,” and that’s what drives the evolution of viruses.

“The viruses that have the ability to replicate inside of the cells of their hosts, are the ones that persist and go on to infect most hosts. And that’s simply the way all genetic systems work - replication, mutation, natural selection,” Dr. Graves continued, “And that’s what’s happening with the coronavirus.”

Can Viruses Be Stopped?

Viruses, like bacteria, naturally develop evolutionary resistances to anything created to control them. As long as there are plants, and animals (and humans), there will be viruses, says Dr. Graves. The problem comes when a new wave of viruses hits a specie…like the 1918 pandemic that killed 50 million worldwide, and now, the novel coronavirus, which Dr. Graves says “has [that] capacity.”