Marie-Athena Papathanasiou: “How I Narrowly Escaped Catching the Coronavirus.”

June 7, 2020
By Catherina Ploumidakis

The current coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. Draconian countermeasures have been adopted in many countries for the pandemic to dissipate.

Marie-Athena met in London on 3 separate occasions three friends of hers that eventually were diagnosed with the novel Coronavirus (one has died) and still did not become infected. She has a story to tell.

The National Herald: You are a lawyer. Tell us about yourself, your family and your work.

Marie-Athena Papathanasiou: I have studied and practiced International and corporate law for over 25 years, practicing in France, UK, Greece, and Switzerland. Currently my particular area of interest and focus is environmental law and governance and nature conservation. I am a graduate of Sorbonne Paris 2 University in Paris and the London School of Economics, holding a doctorate degree in international and comparative law and an LLM in international environmental law and policy.

TNH: You are Greek but live in Switzerland and also keep a base in London. Currently you are in Switzerland. How is the Coronavirus situation over there?

AP: There was a lockdown on shops, restaurants, all hospitality venues, ski and sport facilities, but not a  strict confinement. Now the lockdown has been almost lifted but protective measures remain. The Swiss handled it all very well. I am in a small village up in the mountains in Canton Vaud, I am glad to be in a clean environment; the mountain air is a blessing for clearing the lungs. My village here, Leysin, is called ‘Oxygen of the Alps.’ There is now pressing evidence that air pollution in cities contributes significantly to the coronavirus contagion and its ill effects. There had been very few cases here in Leysin, and none any more.

TNH: You thought you may have contracted COVID-19 while in London. You never had symptoms but three of the people you were in close contact with, got ill and were diagnosed positive. How exactly did this happen?

AP: When I learned that the three people were confirmed as being COVID-19 positive, I wondered whether I had it too, despite not having symptoms, so I did the test and it was negative.

I had indeed have close contact with all three while in London.

The first was a long time male friend and colleague of mine, aged 54. We had dinner together the week of March 9. A week later he told me he had contracted the virus and two people in his office were affected too. He recalled having felt unwell about 10 days before but quickly recovered so did not think anything of it. When the people in his office got it too, he realized he had it first.

The second case was a female friend aged 52, We went to the movies during that same week and a few days later she self-isolated at home as she had COVID-19 symptoms. She had been on a trip to Italy two weeks before – it took time for the virus to manifest – she eventually went to the hospital for 13 days but didn’t go to the ICU. She has subsequently recovered but tiredness persists.

The third case is an acquaintance, a gentleman in his 60’s. We had a meeting to discuss a charity project we are involved with and we spent about three hours together in a conference room, sitting next to each other looking at slides on an iPad. At the time he just had a runny nose.

Eight days later he got pneumonia and was rushed to the hospital and confirmed COVID-10 positive. He was later moved into the ICU. It all happened so quickly. After a week, he passed away and I am still very shocked about it. Unfortunately, if one doesn’t get hospital treatment soon enough and the situation worsens requiring a ventilator, chances of recovery are slim. He had been a smoker who had given up but the damage remains for years after.

TNH: What precautions do you take?

AP: I take Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D3, wild Oregano essential oil (a very potent anti-bacterial and antiviral), Propolis Tincture, Olivaxin olive leaf, and a Iama immunity herbal supplement (both from Greece).

I drink a lot of herbal teas from Greece, like sage, thyme, melissa, mountain tea – they all have amazing medicinal benefits. There is a plethora of medicinal plants native to Greece and I hope people will start exploring the traditional healing remedies for enhancing overall health.

A strong immune system saves your life as one does not die from the virus itself but from the inflammation triggered.

TNH: What do you think saved you from contracting the virus? What is the regimen you have been following?

AP: First of all, it is the diet and supplements. I believe an alkaline diet is key to good health. I exercise and try to be in the fresh air as often as possible.  

I haven’t taken antibiotics for 10 years. Of course I would if needed, but I believe that people who take them too often are weakened in the long term.

Since the pandemic took hold, I preventively started  a regime that I have always used in the past to prevent or fight viral and bacterial infections. I have used it to recover from flu, cold, bronchitis, and sinusitis, so both viral and bacterial infections. I use a solution called Chlorine Dioxide Solution (CDS), which is used for water sanitization, which kills all bacteria, viruses, parasites in the water. It has amazing results. It is not Chlorine, as the name makes it sound. It is activated Sodium Chloride but needs to be used with extreme caution. It was originally used as prevention against malaria but it is an effective water treatment for all bacteria, viruses, parasites, and pathogens.

I also have  been doing daily gargles and mouthwashes with hydrogen peroxide 6 % – of course, in strictly monitored dilution with water – and will continue during this extremely contagious pandemic. I am very careful with the handling and dosage but it has always worked to kill throat infections so in the current context it is a potent tool.

TNH: Has your life mentality changed with all this?

AP: I would never have thought that I could spend five weeks in isolation, totally alone and happy. I am not bored as I read and write a lot, and spend time hiking on the mountain paths.

It is a blessing to take time to reflect, meditate, pray, and appreciate the gift of good health which should  never be taken for granted.

I will go to Greece to spend time by the sea – when the quarantine there is lifted – Greece will hopefully remain safe. The Government did a great job and it yielded excellent results.

TNH: What would you advise us in relation to the virus?

AP: Stop smoking (it is a very aggravating factor for respiratory ailments and there have been many warnings that smokers are at much higher risk of complications in case of coronavirus), reduce alcohol consumption (it may reduce immunity levels), eat healthily, and do everything possible to strengthen the immune system. Spend time in clean air – mountains and seaside are best. Breathing exercises are very helpful. And sign up if possible to help the elderly and infirm in need during these emotionally and physically straining and testing times.


ATHENS - A year after a head-on train collision killed 57 people, an investigation into the causes has lagged and seen relatives of victims complaining about evidence being overlooked and media reports of a cover-up.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The organizers of the longest sled dog race in the eastern United States said Monday they are canceling the event due to a lack of snow on the ground.

THE HAGUE (AP) — The United Nations’ highest court on Monday wrapped up historic proceedings into the legality of Israel’s 57-year occupation of lands sought by Palestinians for a future state, with most voices at the hearing arguing against the Israeli government.

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump has appealed his $454 million New York civil fraud judgment, challenging a judge’s finding that Trump lied about his wealth as he grew the real estate empire that launched him to stardom and the presidency.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.