Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Treatments
COVID-19 is a new strain of respiratory virus from the Coronavirus family. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
As with most viral infections, people are most contagious when they are most symptomatic with fever and cough, but some spread might be possible before people show symptoms.
It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community.
The virus seeks to establish a home in lung cells. It has no way to get there without help. If you avoid airborne particles, from a cough or sneeze, and avoid transferring the virus from your hand to your face, then you won’t contract the virus. Absolute meticulous hand hygiene is probably the most productive way to avoid getting the virus. We are doubling our usual daily routine of cleaning all surfaces in our office.
COVID-19 is a lower respiratory illness, whereas the flu and the common cold are more upper respiratory infections. The illness usually presents anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure, with the sudden onset of fever, cough and shortness of breath. With the typical flu there is more sore throat and nasal congestion. Same for the typical common cold but it usually comes on gradually and is generally milder.
Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and so far those hit hardest are generally older, with compromised immune systems or other co-morbiditities such as heart or lung disease.
If you are in good health and develop mild symptoms of the illness then rest and stay home. If you are in a higher risk category and have mild symptoms, same advice but you might call and let your medical provider know of your condition. Serious symptoms that should alert you to seek urgent medical attention include signs of pneumonia such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath or pain or pressure in the chest, or signs of low oxygen such as confusion, extreme weakness or lethargy, or a bluish discoloration of skin.
There is no conventional treatment for COVID-19. I’ve read reports of using combinations of existing anti-viral medications with some success. I’m also seeing reports of successful treatment using old malaraia drugs, chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine. A vaccine is in the works but unlikely to arrive anytime soon. However, there are numerous natural substances with research proven evidence of benefit.
In Office Treatments
- Stem Cells given intravenously have been shown to be highly successful in the most severe cases, in Chinese research just published in the Aging and Disease journal.
- Vitamin C infusions are currently being tested in several studies in China.
- Ozone therapy may also help with viral infections by stimulating the immune system.
- Nebulized glutathione (inhaled) can markedly reduce lung inflammation. We routinely provide all of these therapies in our office.
Vitamin C protects the body from free radicals and fights oxidative stress, both of which threaten the immune system. In fact, a major immune-supporting activity of vitamin C is boosting a potent internal anti-oxidant called glutathione, in human lymphocytes, cells that make up about 25% of all white blood cells in the blood. I suggest taking 1000mg every 2-3 hrs, up to 10,000mg daily.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an amino acid that will also help raise the level of the master anti-oxidant, glutathione. NAC is even used in the emergency room to treat bronchitis and other lung conditions given its role as an expectorant or mucous thinner as well as an anti-inflammatory. I recommend 500mg 3-4x/day when congested with a cold.
Thymic Protein A (TPA) is an essential substance, necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system; specifically the portion named “cell-mediated immunity” which controls how viruses, bacteria, and other harmful agents are controlled and disposed of by the immune system. TPA is a “transmitter” which seeks out and stimulates the T4 helper white blood cells which act as the “brain” of the immune system and control critical infection-fighting cells such as the natural killer cells. When the body has a sufficient amount of properly working T4 cells then the entire immune system is prepared to function properly. I prefer a TPA product called ProBoost® given 3x/day. I don’t give to kids as they still have a thymus gland.
Astragalus (A. membranaceus) root extract has been shown to have beneficial antioxidant and immune-modulating effects. It seems to improve lymphocyte function by increasing the activity of interleukin-2, an important immune support chemical. In one study, a preparation using Astragalus has been used to successfully treat pneumonia in children. The authors believe it is beneficial because of its free radical-scavenging ability.
Andrographis (A. paniculata whole plant extract 12:1) is a traditional remedy used in India and Asia as a broad-spectrum natural antibiotic and immune system stimulator to treat bacterial, viral, and parasitic conditions. Multiple studies have shown the efficacy of Andrographis against the common cold. This herb has been shown to stimulate the proliferation of white blood cells and ingestion of infected cells. Studies indicate that Andrographis decreases the duration and severity of cold symptoms, such as fatigue, sore throat, and nasal secretions.
Sambucus nigra, also called black elderberry, has been shown to have antiviral properties and is commonly used to treat colds or flu. Studies have shown that elderberry can increase production of inflammatory cytokines, which may stimulate the immune response and enable the immune system to work faster at destroying the viral load. A component of elderberry has also been shown to bind to sialic acid receptors in the nasal mucosa, which is the same site used by the influenza virus for attachment. Multiple studies have shown that people with influenza who supplemented with elderberry experienced improvement in symptoms in 2 days, whereas recovery took at least 6 days in the control group. No adverse effects have been reported in clinical trials.
AHCC is derived from mushrooms and stimulates the immune system attack against viral infections. Transfer Factor Multi Immune is another great product for stimulating a robust immune response to infection. Biotic Silver has mixed studies with some showing benefit in viral infection. Some recommend spraying a dilute solution in the mouth every few hours.
Vitamin D is well known to support immune function, and I highly recommend having your blood level of vitamin D checked. Supplement using vitamin D3, with as much as necessary to get blood levels into the 80-100 ng/ml range, or, taking 2,000 to 5,000 units daily is a reasonable guess for most adults.
The immune system works best when proper support is already in place so don’t forget that nutrition is our first medicine – avoid sugar and get 6-8 servings per day of fruits and veggies. Prepare now and go purchase your natural home remedy kit for coronavirus and other infections.
Prevention and HomeCare
The CDC website is probably the best site for general information on prevention, home care, cleaning and disinfecting, etc.
Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement for men and women, thyroid and adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia, weight loss and other complex medical conditions. He is founder and medical director of the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado (www.imcwc.com) and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (www.bellezzalaser.com). Call 245-6911 for an appointment or more information.