Covid - News January 2021

  • 4 Jan 2021
  • Reading time 15 mins
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Seven Scientifically Supported Steps to Prevent COVID

As with every major 21st century disease the solution, ultimately, is prevention. Vaccination (1), wearing masks (2) and social distancing (3), which includes lockdowns, are three of SEVEN vital steps to prevent COVID. Before exploring the other four - Vitamin C (4), Vitamin D (5), Zinc (6) and Ivermectin (7) - I want to highlight that there are three phases or opportunities for prevention and it is within these phases that I'm going to be exploring the other four prevention steps in detail:

Phase 1 - STOP INFECTION
Phase 2 - SHORTEN INFECTION TO AVOID CONVERSION TO CRITICAL COVID
Phase 3 - STOP DEATHS FROM CRITICAL COVID

PHASE 1 - HOW TO STOP INFECTION

There are two stages in this first prevention phase: not getting exposed to the virus and maximising immediate immune response to the virus to become, effectively, asymptomatic but gain protective immunity. These two stages overlap because a low level of viral exposure, met with a high level of immune viral attack, achieve the goal of avoiding symptomatic infection and probably developing natural immunity.

Yes, wearing a mask, socially distancing and lockdown do help stop infection but, ultimately, it is your immune system’s response which determines whether or not you’ll be in the 99% who either have a mild infection or are asymptomatic despite exposure. The purpose of a vaccine is simply to pre-teach your immune system to react fast. The immune system still has to react and that reaction both requires vitamin C, D and zinc, and uses them up. While preliminary results do show less infection from vaccination it is not known yet if vaccines do provide ongoing protective immunity, or for how long. Similarly, while most people who have had a specific flu virus then develop protective immunity this is not guaranteed. Some people who’ve had COVID get it again.

Also, there are still no proven means to test protective immunity. Initially, great hopes that IgG antibody positivity would mean you’ve got protective immunity were dashed when those who had tested COVID negative, but had symptoms, also had t-cell memory for the virus. It is t-cells that attack specific viruses. Now, great hopes exist for t-cell memory tests but they are not yet commercially available.

The next valid way to stop, or minimise the consequences of infection, is to ensure an optimal level of vitamin C, D and zinc. These three nutrients are absolutely critical to your immune system’s immediate attack response to any viral infection.

From what we know so far an optimal blood level of vitamin D is likely to be around 100nmol/l and certainly above 75nmol/l.

The optimal blood level of vitamin C is between 60 and 70µmol/l, which is the level that animals who make vitamin C (almost all) keep their blood level at by making more when they need more, under viral attack. UK authorities consider 50µmol/l to be an adequate level, with 60µmol/l or more being optimal. Animals always make enough such that there are detectable levels in the urine so one simple way to check you have enough is to check your urinary levels with a VitaCheck dipstick.

Overall, supplementing 500mg to 1,000mg twice a day should ensure you keep your blood levels of vitamin C at optimal levels. The latest UK placebo-controlled trial illustrates what you can expect from this simple prevention step. This trial comprised 168 volunteers who were randomised to receive a placebo or vitamin C (2 x 500 mg daily) over a 60-day winter period. The vitamin C group had fewer colds (37 vs. 50, p = 0.05), and even fewer virally challenged ‘cold’ days (85 vs. 178, p = 0.03) and a shorter duration of severe symptom days (1.8 vs. 3.1 days, p = 0.03). The number of participants who had two colds during the trial was significantly reduced (2/84 on vitamin C vs. 16/84 in the placebo group; p = 0.04).1Broadly speaking we could say that taking vitamin C at this level is likely to halve your risk of infection and halve your recovery time if you do become infected.

We don’t yet have the same kind of clinical trials for vitamin D but a number of trials have reported that the lower one’s vitamin D status the higher is the risk of testing positive on a COVID PCR test. The suggestion here is that if you double your vitamin D level you halve the risk of testing PCR positive, but this isn’t yet hard proof because, for example, maybe people with low vitamin D levels have other things going on that could increase their risk. That’s why we need controlled trials. However, if this were true then simply supplementing 1,000iu a day (or 7,000iu a week) could halve risk of infection.

Another is Ivermectin. This anti-parasite drug, considered to be one of the top ten effective drugs, taken by 3.7 billion people, with virtually no side-effects (except for those of parasite die-off) has been shown to cut risk of infection if you’re in a high risk exposure by about a fifth.2 In other words, if a family member gets COVID your risk is 50%. This reduces to 10% if you take a single monthly dose of Ivermectin.

Coupled with an optimal blood level of vitamin C and D I would expect you’d cut your risk by a lot more. If vitamin C halves your risk, and adequate blood levels of vitamin D halves your risk that’s already a 75% reduction in risk. If Ivermectin further cuts risk by 80% that’s a risk reduction of 95%. This is equivalent to the best results reported in the Pfizer vaccine trial. Of course, this does assume you can add all these effects together.

This approach would be remarkably easy to put into effect, and relatively inexpensive to get everyone to take a weekly vitamin D supplement and a daily, or twice a day, vitamin C supplement. Most would be willing to pay if their health authorities told them this was worth doing. Also, there is no risk of serious adverse effects.

PHASE 2 - SHORTEN INFECTION TO AVOID CRITICAL COVID

No-one dies from the coronavirus infection as such. Critical COVID, the life-threatening stage of this disease process, is a result of the immune system’s reaction against a large quantity of dead virus particles primarily in the blood and lungs. This usually occurs after two weeks of infection, moving from the throat and nasal passages into the lungs, indicated by a shortness of breath and falling levels of oxygenation.

In my view, the most critical prevention stage is to build up one’s protective immunity to rapidly and effectively kill virus particles upon exposure. The reason I say this is that viruses aren’t going away. We are and will always be exposed to new variations of viruses. That is why flu jabs remain only partially effective, ignoring any issues of adverse effects experienced by a minority. It is also one of the big gambles with the COVID vaccines – will they work against new variants?

Therefore, if there was a way to sufficiently shorten any viral infection, thereby reducing one’s viral load and simultaneously reducing one’s chances of infecting another, that has to be worth doing.

There is. It is vitamin C. Thanks to Professor Harri Hemila’s Cochrane review of all the studies up to 2013 we know that vitamin C, even in low doses of 1 gram, does reduce the duration of viral infection.3 Quoting this review: ‘‘Thirty-one comparisons examined the effect of regular vitamin C on common cold duration (9,745 episodes). In adults the duration of colds was reduced by 8% (3% to 12%) and in children by 14% (7% to 21%). In children, 1 to 2 g/day vitamin C shortened colds by 18%. The severity of colds was also reduced by regular vitamin C administration.’

This beneficial effect is, however, greater at higher doses. To quote the review: “Two controlled trials found a statistically significant dose–response, for the duration of common cold symptoms, with up to 6–8 g/day of vitamin C. Thus, the negative findings of some therapeutic common cold studies might be explained by the low doses of 3–4 g/day of vitamin C. Three controlled trials found that vitamin C prevented pneumonia. Two controlled trials found a treatment benefit of vitamin C for pneumonia patients.” Pneumonia, I should point out, is what is happening in the second week of a COVID infection, if not swiftly resolved, as the virus moves into the lungs.

The benefit of vitamin C is even greater if 8 grams are taken during the first day of an infection. To quote the review: “the proportion of 'short colds', that lasted for only a single day was significantly larger in the 8 g/day group (46%) compared with the 4 g/day group (39% P = 0.046), consistent with a greater benefit with the higher dose compared with the lower dose.”

In layman’s terms that means that half of people who take 8 grams, or 8 x 1 gram vitamin C supplements in the first day of an infection are symptom-free within 24 hours. I believe, although this has not been tested, that higher doses, up to 1 gram an hour, could have even greater effects. But, if we stick with the evidence, 8 grams if taken in the first day of infection, eg upon first symptoms, immediately halves both people continued infection and being likely to infect others.

Although there’s no exact study yet it would not be unreasonable to say that this simple action is likely to halve the number of people being hospitalised for COVID.

Why are governments the world over not recommending this? They’ve had the science for almost a decade, and I’ve made sure they have the science right up to date and, right now, the body of evidence is much more substantial than that for vaccines. That is, of course, not surprising since there has been over 40 years of research on vitamin C as opposed to under one year on COVID vaccines. What is surprising is that continue to ignore it.

Zinc shortens infections by a third

Professor Harri Hemilä from the University of Helsinki, who we met before in relation to his detective work on vitamin C and colds, also pooled the data from seven trials giving 75mg or more of the essential element zinc and found that “The mean common cold duration was 33% shorter for the zinc groups of the seven included trials.4” That’s no small effect.

If high dose vitamin C reduced the duration of colds by a half and zinc by a third that adds up to a two thirds reduction in duration which should be more than enough to prevent the majority of people ever reaching the critical life-threatening stage. There is, of course, an assumption here that you can add these two reductions together. No combined study has yet been done. It needs to be.

Vitamin D cuts COVID deaths by over 80 per cent

The best evidence to date for vitamin D is the Castillo study. In this Spanish trial hospitalized COVID-19 patients (already very sick) were given one high strength dose of vitamin D (over 500mcg or 20,000iu) and compared to those given nothing only 2% ended up in ICU, none of which died, compared to 50% on placebo, of which 15% died.5 It’s not a perfect ‘placebo controlled’ trial but the chances are that if the average person with a COVID infection, relatively low in vitamin D, were given a single high dose of vitamin D it would halve their chances of developing critical COVID.

Add this to the likely effect of giving high dose (8g) vitamin C, plus zinc (75mg) and you could be looking at reducing risk of critical COVID by at least 80 per cent.

PHASE 3 - STOP DEATHS FROM CRITICAL COVID

Now we get to the sharp end of prevention. It’s all very well talking about preventing infection or becoming PCR positive, the accuracy and meaning of which is not absolute, or even reducing duration or severity of infection, but ultimaltely no-one can argue with the ‘hard’ fact of death. How do we stop COVID deaths?

Please bear in mind that, in the Pfizer trial, no-one died of COVID in either the vaccinated or placebo group and, in the Oxford/AstraZeneca trial one person died of COVID in the control group and none in the vaccinated group. So, until the vaccines have been given to enough people we won't actually know to what extent they save lives.

High dose (6g+) vitamin C halves mortality

The same cannot be said for vitamin C. Intensive Care Units the world over are reporting undeniable reductions in death in their critically ill COVID patients. The first randomised placebo controlled trial, from Wuhan’s Zhongnan Hospital, reported 68% less mortality compared to placebo6, while other Chinese hospitals have reported similar findings in ‘open’ trials. The Florey Institute in Australia reported an unexpected recovery in an extremely critically ill COVID patient not expected to survive with high dose intravenous vitamin C. A Colorado ICU reports that most of their critically ill patients have low vitamin C and those with the lowest level have the lowest chances of surviving. A Barcelona ICU reports that 17 out of 18 of their patients have undetectable vitamin C. The Chelsea & Westminster ICU – the first to use vitamin C in the UK with the lowest mortality – since testing urinary levels of vitamin C, have increased their dose from 1g to up to 6g of intravenous vitamin C, and recommend 6 grams of oral vitamin C on arrival to most hospitalised patients if their urine levels are low, which they usually are. There are 45 clinical trials on vitamin C and COVID registered so we are going to learn more as this year unfolds. You can read all this evidence and more in my review paper in the ‘science’ section of www.vitaminC4covid.com.

It is not just about vitamin C. The leading hospitals have learnt to combine vitamin C with steroids (Methylprednisolone) and maximum dose anticoagulants (Heparin). This combo is known as MATH+ (A is for ascorbic acid, T is for Thiamine -vitamin B1). This was first proposed and made popular by the FrontLine COVID Critical Care (FLCCC) group of emergency medicine experts who claim 5% mortality compared to the current UK average of 30%, already an improvement on the first wave mortality rate of over 40% of those admitted into ICUs. They give 3 grams of vitamin C every 4 hours, or 12 grams of intravenous vitamin C daily.

So, the likely effect of giving at least 6 grams of vitamin C, orally if possible, and intravenously if not, is at least a halving of mortality.

If the Spanish Castillo study, showing 2% mortality, versus 15% mortality if vitamin D deficiency is rapidly corrected (that’s the ‘+’ in MATH+) it is entirely possible that the combination of vitamin C and vitamin D could, as the first randomised controlled trial suggests, cut risk by more like two thirds. In reality, with the MATH+ protocol, mortality need not be higher than 5%.

Ivermectin is also being reported to reduce mortality in critical COVID patients although no studies are yet reported.

IN SUMMARY

So there you have it. The four ignored but scientifically supported prevention steps are:

1. Vitamin C
2. Vitamin D
3. Zinc
4. Ivermectin

Combined these could reasonably be expected to reduce risk of infection by 90%; reduce risk of converting to critical COVID in those infected by 80% by reducing duration and severity of infection; reduce mortality for those with critical COVID by at least 66.6% but more likely 95% with the MATH+ protocol.

As an example, if a million people took these actions, the 2% who get infected (20,000) would reduce to 2,000. Of those, normally 5%, or 100 convert to critical covid, but this would drop by 80% to 20 people. Of these 20 people treated with the MATH+ protocol one would be expected to die. That’s one death in a million people doing prevention properly. Pandemic over. Surely this is worth a shot?

VITC4COVID CARE HOME STUDY - CAN YOU HELP? CROWD FUNDRAISER ENDS MONDAY 18 JANUARY

Excuse me for asking but we need to raise £10,000 to run a Care Home Study. So far we've raised a fantastic £8,874 but we're not there yet!

If you can spare anything - £10, £20, £50, £100 – we only need 90 people to give £100 to make this trial a reality. Please make your donation here

The Care Home Study is one of the simplest, cleanest studies to move the vitamin C conversation further. If you haven’t already signed our petition please do so by visiting www.vitaminC4covid.com

References

1. Van Straten, M.; Josling, P. Preventing the common cold with a vitamin C supplement: A double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv. Ther. 2002, 19, 151–159

2. https://covid19criticalcare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/FLCCC-Ivermectin-in-the-prophylaxis-and-treatment-of-COVID-19.pdf

3. Hemilä, H.; Chalker, E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2013.

4. H Hemilä, ‘Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage’ Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open, (2017), 8(5).

5. E.Castillo M, Entrenas Costa LM, Vaquero Barrios JM, et al. "Effect of calcifediol treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19: A pilot randomized clinical study". J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2020;203:105751. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105751

6. Zhang, J.; Rao, X.; Li, Y.; Zhu, Y.; Liu, F.; Guo, G.; Luo, G.; Meng, Z.; De Backer, D.; Xiang, H.; et al. High-dose vitamin C infusion for the treatment of critically ill COVID-19. Res. Square 2020

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