He has a point. About 20 per cent of all colds are coronaviruses. If we wind back a year the reason there haven’t been coronavirus vaccines before in the annual ‘flu vaccine’ mix is that they are forever mutating. According to Nature journal, the SARS-CoV-2-genome has already undergone 12,000 mutations. Many mutations, they say, will have no consequence for the virus’s ability to spread or cause disease, because they do not alter the shape of a protein, whereas those mutations that do change proteins are more likely to harm the virus than improve it. “It’s much easier to break something than it is to fix it,” says Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Basel, who is part of Nextstrain.org, an effort to analyse SARS-CoV-2 genomes in real time.
And there lies one of the biggest challenges with coronavirus vaccines. Will they work against new variants? I asked an expert on vaccines whether we can be confident the current vaccines with work against the already identified new variants. “We can’t be confident of anything.” The only way of knowing is to set up another trial monitoring people who are vaccinated versus those not, who then become infected with the new strain. It’s no different to the original trials that got the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines licenced and rolled out.
You can get an indication by seeing if the vaccine results in antibody production against the new strain. On this basis, it is looking like they might protect against the ‘Kent’ strain but possibly not, or not sufficiently, against the South African and Brazilian strain. A release from Moderna announced a six fold reduction in effect against the South African strain compared to the original, trialled strain, so, even if effective, it suggests it will be less effective than the original trial results indicated.
I want to say here, upfront, I am not anti-vaccine. If there is a vaccine that works against a virus or pathogenic organism, that has little likelihood of significant harm, I’m all for it. But some viruses are just too tricky. We saw that with HIV.
It pains me to see politicians and intelligent members of the public blindly state that this covid pandemic will be solved by having everyone vaccinated. The honest truth at this stage is that we just don’t know. And we also just don’t know what the scale of serious adverse reactions will be. Already they are troubling. I wrote about this in my January 100% Health newsletter. Having everyone vaccinated, then chasing one’s tale to adapt new vaccines for new variants is, of course, big pharma’s wet dream. The sales of vaccines to Governments, spending our tax payer money, is through the roof. In stark contrast, recommending vitamin C and D would cost nothing. I’m not going to say the vaccines will or won’t work, or will or won’t have an unacceptable rate of serious adverse reactions because I just don't know. I will bet, however, that they will not ultimately prove to be anywhere close to ‘90% effective’, nor nearly as safe as pitched. Time will tell.
VITAMIN C – THE EVIDENCE IS GROWING
Meanwhile, there is something we can all do, and that is strengthen our immune defences both to minimise risk of symptomatic infection, reduced duration and severity if you do become infected, and increase survival in those who tip into pneumonia or the cytokine storm/sepsis phase, triggering organ failure, which are the main causes of death from COVID-19. We are talking here mainly about vitamin C, D and zinc. The point here is that vitamin C has proven effective, in the right dose, against EVERY virus, including coronaviruses, so far tested.
My podcast with Dr Thomas Levy who has catalogued the effect of vitamin C against a wide range of viruses, makes this clear. Have a listen. He taught me a lot about vitamin C. That is a very good reason to assume it will also be so against all coronavirus variants as numerous case histories testify.
Last week the University of Otago’s Nutrition in Medicine group launched an online ‘Vitamin C and COVID-19 Research Resource’ to keep cataloguing the growing evidence for vitamin C. You can see this, along with the peer-reviewed paper ‘Vitamin C – an Adjunctive Therapy for Respiratory Infection, Sepsis and COVID-19’ which my co-authors and I published in Nutrient journal, in the ‘science’ section on www.vitaminC4covid.com. On of my co-authors, Associate Professor Anitra Carr, is in charge of the ‘Vitamin C and COVID-19 Research Resource’. All this research – our paper cites 117 studies – has been presented several times from several sources to all the decision makers, from the UK’s minister of health, Matt Hancock, his advisors, and most importantly to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) who advise PHE, who advise the Department of Health, who advise the Government and MPs. I’m sure the same is true in other countries.
The standard response from MPs is:
- There is no peer- reviewed evidence at present that taking it regularly can help to prevent COVID-19.
- There is a large body of research investigating whether it would help to prevent the common cold, and it has been shown not to be effective.
- Vitamin C is not yet recommended for use
The first statement is true. The second is not true. SACN cite three studies only in their last review, each of which concludes that vitamin C, in the right dose, is effective in reducing duration and severity of respiratory tract infections.
Here’s a brief summary from each:
‘Vitamin C supplementation has also been shown to decrease the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections’.. ‘Supplementation with vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections.’ ..’supplementation above the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), but within recommended upper safety limits, for specific nutrients such as vitamins C and D is warranted; and (3) public health officials are encouraged to include nutritional strategies in their recommendations to improve public health.’
According to one of the leading experts in vitamin C research, Professor of Public Health Harri Hemila from the University of Helsinki, there is no reason or evidence to assume that the effect of vitamin C on the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection also known as COVID-19 is substantially less than that for colds. ‘Because the disease caused by the new coronavirus is much more severe than the ordinary virus infections… this may justify a regular increased daily intake of vitamin C for the period when the prevalence of the virus is high. Furthermore, the major cause for concern about COVID-19 is the high frequency of ICU treatment that is needed. A meta-analysis of 12 trials with 1766 patients found that vitamin C had shortened ICU stay by 8% (2). Another meta-analysis of eight trials found that vitamin C shortened the duration of mechanical ventilation in patients who needed longest ventilation. When a patient suffers from a virus infection there may be a vitamin C dose response for up to 6-8 g/day. Vitamin C is a safe and inexpensive essential nutrient and therefore even small to moderate benefits may be worthwhile.’
So, just because no-one, in the height of a pandemic, has set up a ‘cold’ trial, giving people vitamin C before infection, then measuring who does or doesn’t get infected and how long those infections last, does this really justify our Governments ignoring the mountain of favourable vitamin C research and not recommending people to dose up when the first signs of an infection strike? Meanwhile, as you’ll know from previous posts, at the sharp end of ICU treatment emergency medicine specialists are recording life-saving effects of intravenous vitamin C, when given with appropriate medications, backed up by the first placebo-controlled randomised trial showing a statistically significant 80% less mortality in the most critically ill.
VITAMIN C, D AND ZINC - WHAT TO SUPPLEMENT FOR PREVENTION AND INFECTION
Much the same story can be told about vitamin D. (I’ll soon be revisiting this in a blog.) Given that the vaccine roll outs are based, so far, on one trial for each vaccine with such small numbers of infected people making them unable to access the likely benefit on mortality or rate of serious adverse effects, to simply ignore all the evidence regarding vitamin C and D, both already established as remarkably safe, to not advise the public to take the amounts that the science shows is highly likely to be protective, is a massive double standard.
VitaminC4covid.com have published recommendations of what to take for prevention, early and critical treatment, which can be found here. Please share this with everyone you know.
CASES AND ICU DEATHS ARE GOING DOWN
January saw the biggest peak in cases and deaths, both for COVID-19 deaths in Intensive Care Units and in those with a positive PCR test within 28 days, but fortunately, the trend in the last week is going down as the chart below shows. it's still pretty bad, with 534 deaths in ICUs from COVID-19, but that's decreased by a third from the week before. Remember, these deaths are a lag from people admitted more than a week ago. More telling is new admissions which more than halved (57% decrease) from the record high of 2,595 three weeks ago, to 2,305 two weeks ago to 987 this last week.
Deaths from people testing PCR corona positive in the last week have also dropped from the record high on 6,518 two weeks ago to 4,814 last week. The percentage of people testing positive has halved, falling from 6.2% to 3.3%. This is below the level that WHO advise requires lockdown.
Please bear in mind that the classic flu season runs until the end of Feb or early March, then peters away quickly coinciding with the return of the sun. That’s why it is so important to both keep your daily vitamin D intake up with at least 3,000iu a day, or seven times this once it week since it stores, and get out in the sun at every opportunity, and do some exercise.