Coronavirus Insights – December 4, 2020
We are back with our continued research on all things Covid, and we apologize in advance for the length of this Perspective article. With so much swirling in terms of case counts and news of the imminent vaccines, it’s been difficult to edit all that we are reading into digestible bites of information. On the bright side, you’ll have all of the information you need to do your research and make informed decisions in one central place — so flag this for when you’re ready to dive in!
We admit that we are biased toward preventive health (no surprise for those who have been following our newsletters 😉). This is simply because there are minimal risks in upping your vitamin intake (especially vitamins C and D), meditating, exercising, and eating a nutrient-dense diet. These aren’t just aspirational actions — study after study proves the power of these proactive approaches when it comes to preventing or reducing the severity of Covid. And yet, discussions about preventative health are noticeably absent in the news. They are not making headlines, but maybe they should? Instead, we are being led to believe that a vaccine is the only saving grace...the magic bullet.
Today’s newsletter is no different in terms of our focus on therapeutics. More and more evidence continues to emerge that supports using a preventative health-based approach in managing Covid. We have included several protocols being used successfully by doctors that you can download and save.
But we are expanding our focus to also include articles about testing that might give you pause or hopefully ignite a curiosity to know more. Is it reliable? Is a positive a true positive?
And the Covid vaccine -- how can we know after two months of observational study whether it’s really safe? How will we know the long-term effects? Long term efficacy? Two of the vaccine manufacturers, Moderna and Pfizer, are using a brand new technology — what if they are wrong?
As always, our goal in sharing this information is to encourage you to do your homework, look beyond headlines and press releases, and make informed decisions. Knowledge is power, and we hope that with this knowledge, you can better understand your options, especially in light of your own personal risk factors, like age and comorbidities.
Let’s dig in.
Vitamin D Insufficiency May Account for Almost Nine of Ten COVID-19 Deaths: Time to Act.
"Evidence from observational studies is accumulating, suggesting that the majority of deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 infections are statistically attributable to vitamin D insufficiency and could potentially be prevented by vitamin D supplementation."
Via Penn State News
Mouthwashes, oral rinses may inactivate human coronaviruses
“'Certain oral antiseptics and mouthwashes may have the ability to inactivate human coronaviruses, according to a Penn State College of Medicine research study. The results indicate that some of these products might be useful for reducing the viral load, or amount of virus, in the mouth after infection and may help to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.''
Experimental therapy may speed recovery for COVID patients
"Duluth (MN) patients were among the first to get an experimental treatment that uses a thyroid hormone to mitigate lung failure. It's now part of a Phase 2 FDA study."
Via Cleveland Clinic
Researchers identify melatonin as possible Covid-19 treatment
"Analysis of patient data from Cleveland Clinic's COVID-19 registry also revealed that melatonin usage was associated with a nearly 30 percent reduced likelihood of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) after adjusting for age, race, smoking history and various disease comorbidities. Notably, the reduced likelihood of testing positive for the virus increased from 30 to 52 percent for African Americans when adjusted for the same variables."
Can Melatonin Be a Potential "Silver Bullet" in Treating Covid-19 Patients?
“Just released study—Because of its wide-ranging effects as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory compound, melatonin could be unique in impairing the consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Medina County doctor using sleep aid to treat Covid-19 patients
"A Medina County doctor says he’s successfully helping COVID-19 patients recover with more ease with the use of supplements and medications, including melatonin. Dr. Richard Neel, with Little Alsace Urgent Care Center, said since the beginning of the pandemic in the spring, he has treated a couple of hundred patients with melatonin and vitamins C and D3, along with antibiotics and steroids, depending on the need of the patient.
The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro
"Ivermectin is an inhibitor of the COVID-19 causative virus (SARS-CoV-2) in vitro. A single treatment able to effect ~5000-fold reduction in virus at 48 h in cell culture. Ivermectin is FDA-approved for parasitic infections, and therefore has a potential for repurposing. Ivermectin is widely available, due to its inclusion on the WHO model list of essential medicines."
Via NBC News
'Breakthrough findings' reveal why certain Covid-19 patients die
“Research shows Covid-19 patients with life-threatening illness have antibodies that disable key immune system proteins called interferons.”
Via Yahoo! News
Vitamin D to be delivered to millions of vulnerable people to help protect them from Covid
“One of the studies understood to be under consideration by health officials is an analysis by Ben Gurion University, involving around 1.3 million participants, which suggested that vitamin D supplementation can cut the risk of death from Covid-19 in some groups by as much as half."
The link between Vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19 in a large population
“This study recommends supplementing with Vitamin D in the liquid form."
Vitamin D and survival in COVID-19 patients: A quasi-experimental study
“Vitamin D may be a central biological determinant of COVID-19 outcomes. Bolus vitamin D3 supplementation during or just before COVID-19 was associated with less severe COVID-19 in frail elderly. Bolus vitamin D3 supplementation during or just before COVID-19 was associated with better survival rate in frail elderly. Randomized controlled trials are expected to firmly conclude the effect of vitamin D supplementation on COVID-19 prognosis.."
Covid-19 outpatients: early risk-stratified treatment with zinc plus low-dose hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin: a retrospective case study series
“First COVID-19 outpatient study based on risk stratification and early antiviral treatment at the beginning of the disease. Low-dose hydroxychloroquine combined with zinc and azithromycin was an effective therapeutic approach against COVID-19. Significantly reduced hospitalisation rates in the treatment group. Reduced mortality rates in the treatment group."
Covid-19: Do many people have pre-existing immunity?
“T-cells really are the superstars in fighting COVID-19 - but why are some of us so poor at making them?"
Specific Treatment Protocols
Via The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
A Guide to Home Treatment
“A Guide to Home-Based COVID Treatment is built on the rapidly accumulating peer-reviewed published medical research, written by practicing physicians with decades of experience treating patients with all kinds of illnesses."
Via Sky News AU
Early Home Treatment Protocol
Listen to how this Professor of Medicine healed himself from Covid and how his protocol is helping others. The key is early home treatment rather than waiting for the illness to get bad enough to go to the hospital. The treatment is a cocktail. It is not one specific drug but the synergistic effect of the combination of drugs and nutraceuticals.
Via Dr. Vladimir Zelenko
"Treatment Plan for Patients with Covid-19 symptoms Prehospital Management" (HCQ+ Arithromycin+ Zinc)
Rapid Testing is Less Accurate than the Government Wants to Admit
"Rapid antigen testing is a mess. The federal government pushed it out without a plan, and then spent weeks denying problems with false positives."
CDC Report: Officials Knew CDC Coronavirus Test Was Flawed But Released It Anyway
"On Feb. 6, a scientist in a small infectious disease lab on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention campus in Atlanta was putting a coronavirus test kit through its final paces. The lab designed and built the diagnostic test in record time, and the little vials that contained necessary reagents to identify the virus were boxed up and ready to go. But NPR has learned the results of that final quality control test suggested something troubling — it said the kit could fail 33% of the time. Under normal circumstances, that kind of result would stop a test in its tracks, half a dozen public and private lab officials told NPR. But an internal CDC review obtained by NPR confirms that lab officials decided to release the kit anyway."
Via The New York Times
Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn't Be.
"The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious. In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found."
Via The New York Times
Faith In Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn't
A historical perspective from 2007: "Now, as they look back on the episode, epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists say the problem was that they placed too much faith in a quick and highly sensitive molecular test that led them astray. Infectious disease experts say such tests are coming into increasing use and may be the only way to get a quick answer in diagnosing diseases like whooping cough, Legionnaire’s, bird flu, tuberculosis and SARS, and deciding whether an epidemic is under way. There are no national data on pseudo-epidemics caused by an overreliance on such molecular tests, said Dr. Trish M. Perl, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins and past president of the Society of Health Care Epidemiologists of America. But, she said, pseudo-epidemics happen all the time. The Dartmouth case may have been one the largest, but it was by no means an exception, she said."
Via Wall Street Journal
Covid Was Hiding Among Colds and Flus
"Too much focus on Washington and magic fixes has impeded grass-roots adaptation."
Eurosurveillance Responds to Call for Retraction
This is an interesting development to continue watching. A group of scientists called for the retraction of Eurosurveillance's Jan. 2020 publication, “Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR”. Here, Eurosurveillance responds.
Via US National Insitutes of Health
"Excercise with facemask; Are we handling a devil's sword?" -- A physiological hypothesis
"Exercising with facemasks might increase pathophysiological risks of underlying chronic disease, especially cardiovascular and metabolic risks. Social exercisers are recommended to do low to moderate-intensity exercise, rather than vigorous exercise when they are wearing facemasks. We also recommend people with chronic diseases to exercise alone at home, under supervision when required, without the use of facemasks. Given the identified and hypothesized risks, social distancing and self-isolation appear to be better than wearing facemasks while exercising during this global crisis."
Vaccine Questions & Concerns
Via YouTube (Original: CBS 60 Minutes)
Swine Flu Vaccine (1976)
"This is an old segment from CBS '60 Minutes' on the swine flu (also known as H1N1) & the vaccine that was developed to stop the pandemic."
A stubborn medical mystery: Was pandemic flu vaccine tied to an increase in narcolepsy cases?
"Dr. Steven Black believes that the SOMNIA study, for a variety of reasons, was unable to crack the puzzle. And he thinks it’s critical to keep looking for the answer, because the use of adjuvants will likely be necessary the next time a severe flu pandemic hits — both to make the vaccine more potent and to stretch limited supplies.'We don’t know if there’s an association or not for sure. I believe there is, even though the study I did showed that there wasn’t,' Black, an infectious diseases expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, told STAT."
Via The New York Times
Immunity to the Coronavirus May Last Years, New Data Hint
"How long might immunity to the coronavirus last? Years, maybe even decades, according to a new study — the most hopeful answer yet to a question that has shadowed plans for widespread vaccination."
Via The New York Times
New Type of Test May Better Discern Immunity to the Coronavirus
"A test for t-cell immunity on the horizon May indicate those who do not need a vaccine."
Via The Wall Street Journal
Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine: When Will it be Ready and Everything Else You Need to Know
"The effectiveness data announced by Pfizer and BioNTech was positive but preliminary. It left many unknowns beyond whether the vaccine is safe to take. The analysis took place too soon for researchers to figure how long the protection conferred by the vaccine will last; the data only looked how well the vaccine worked seven days after subjects got a second shot. “What will be the protective efficacy over time?” Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s vaccine-research group. “Is this going to be a handful of months, like the flu vaccine? Is it going to be like measles or smallpox where it’s lifelong immunity?” It also is unclear whether the vaccine worked at protecting against severe Covid-19 disease. Nor is it clear whether the vaccine worked in all the different populations that would be in line to get one, including the elderly, children and various racial and ethnic groups. Pfizer and BioNTech are expected to release additional data later."
FDA Whitewashes Warnings About Coronavirus Vaccine Trials
"When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened a panel of outside experts October 22 to advise it on potential coronavirus vaccines, members of the advisory committee expressed several serious concerns about the testing and approval process. One medical doctor warned of the potential for 'a total disaster.' Another complained of 'hugely missed opportunities.'"
Via The BMJ Opinion
Peter Doshi: Pfizer and Moderna's 95% effective vaccines -- let's be cautious and first see the full data
"Let’s put this in perspective. First, a relative risk reduction is being reported, not absolute risk reduction, which appears to be less than 1%. Second, these results refer to the trials’ primary endpoint of covid-19 of essentially any severity, and importantly not the vaccine’s ability to save lives, nor the ability to prevent infection, nor the efficacy in important subgroups (e.g. frail elderly). Those still remain unknown. Third, these results reflect a time point relatively soon after vaccination, and we know nothing about vaccine performance at 3, 6, or 12 months, so cannot compare these efficacy numbers against other vaccines like influenza vaccines (which are judged over a season). Fourth, children, adolescents, and immunocompromised individuals were largely excluded from the trials, so we still lack any data on these important populations."
Via The BMJ Opinion
Will Covid-19 vaccines save lives? Current trials aren't designed to tell us.
"None of the trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus."
Moderna Chief Medical Officer warns to not 'overinterpet' vaccine results
"They do not show that they prevent you from potentially carrying this virus...and infecting others."
Positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide
"The influenza vaccine may increase influenza immunity at the expense of reduced immunity to SARS-CoV-2 by some unknown biological mechanism, as suggested by Cowling et al. (2012) for non-influenza respiratory virus. Alternatively, weaker temporary, non-specific immunity after influenza viral infection could cause this positive association due to stimulation of the innate immune response during and for a short time after infection (McGill, Heusel & Legge, 2009; Khaitov et al., 2009). People who had received the influenza vaccination would have been protected against influenza but not against other viral infections, due to reduced non-specific immunity in the following weeks (Cowling et al., 2012), probably caused by virus interference (Isaacs & Lindenmann, 1957; Seppälä et al., 2011; Wolff, 2020). Although existing human vaccine adjuvants have a high level of safety, specific adjuvants in influenza vaccines should also be tested for adverse reactions, such as additionally increased inflammation indicators (Petrovsky, 2015) in COVID-19 patients with already strongly increased inflammation (Qin et al., 2020)."
Researchers Warn Some Covid-19 Vaccines Could Increase Risk of HIV Infections
"Some of the Covid-19 vaccines currently in development could increase the risk of acquiring HIV, warned a group of researchers in the The Lancet (see link below) medical journal Monday, potentially leading to an increase in infections as vaccines are rolled out to vulnerable populations around the world."
Via The Lancet
Use of adenovirus-type 5 vectored vaccines: a cautionary tale
"We are writing to express concern about the use of a recombinant adenovirus type-5 (Ad5) vector for a COVID-19 phase 1 vaccine study, and subsequent advanced trials. Over a decade ago, we completed the Step and Phambili phase 2b studies that evaluated an Ad5 vectored HIV-1 vaccine administered in three immunisations for efficacy against HIV-1 acquisition. Both international studies found an increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition among vaccinated men."
Via Financial Times
UK plans to use AI to process adverse reactions to Covid vaccine
"The UK drugs regulator is planning to use artificial intelligence to sift through the “high volume” of reports of adverse reactions to Covid-19 vaccines in the coming months, as it prepares for an inoculation programme of groundbreaking scale. A government contract shows the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority has paid a software company called Genpact UK £1.5m to develop an AI tool to “process the expected high volume of Covid-19 vaccine adverse drug reaction (ADRs) and ensure that no details . . . are missed”. The need for a powerful tool to sort through what are forecast to be a huge number of adverse reactions, speaks to the scale of the vaccination programme in the months ahead."
Doctors say CDC should warn people the side effects from Covid vaccine shots won't be 'a walk in the park'
"Public health officials and drugmakers need to warn people that coronavirus vaccine shots may have some rough side effects so they know what to expect and aren’t scared away from getting the second dose, doctors urged during a meeting Monday with CDC advisors. Both companies acknowledged that their vaccines could induce side effects that are similar to symptoms associated with mild Covid-19, such as muscle pain, chills and headache."
Why the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine is different
"AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford say their vaccine is up to 90 percent effective. But there’s a lot we still don’t know."
Via U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Prep Act Liability Immunity and Compensation
All Covid vaccine manufacturers are completely immune from product liability. This reaffirms the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act which shielded all vaccine manufacturers from ever being liable except for willful misconduct.