A closer look at the COVID-19 treatment that could reopen the country

According to the New Your Times, COVID-19 cases have topped 35 million globally and over one million people have died from the virus worldwide. [1] This global pandemic has touched almost every country on earth as experts scurry to find viable preventative measures and treatment options. In light of all of this, a recent news article published September 24 by FOX6 Milwaukee has garnered a lot of attention. The article stated that there is a COVID-19 treatment underway in Florida that has a near-perfect success rate. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the new therapy and explore exactly how it is revolutionizing COVID-19 treatment.


What does the new COVID-19 treatment, ICAM, include?

The new ICAM protocol for the treatment of COVID-19 includes immunosupportive therapies like intravenous vitamin C and zinc, as well as drugs from various classes, including corticosteroids, anti-coagulants, and macrolides.


What is the science behind the ICAM protocol for addressing COVID-19?

We know from other research that intravenous vitamin C has both antiviral and antioxidant properties, which is why it has been studied for its ability to reduce the cytokine storm that is frequently observed in late-stage COVID-19. [2]


Similar to vitamin C, zinc is known for its immunosupportive properties. Research demonstrates that the administration of zinc has the potential to enhance antiviral immunity, both innate and humoral, and especially in the cases of the immunocompromised and the elderly. [3] Zinc appears to disrupt virus attachment and other virus-related physical processes, and it may also inhibit viral replication by altering the proteolytic processes of various viral enzymes.


Corticosteroids, including dexamethasone and hydrocortisone, are known for their anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic, and vasoconstrictive properties. Throughout this pandemic, the use of corticosteroids for COVID-related acute respiratory distress syndrome has been inconsistent, with various bodies making weak recommendations for or against their use at various times. The fear was that corticosteroids may lead to increased hospitalization risk and worse outcomes in individuals with COVID-19. Since the publication of the RECOVERY trial and related trials, however, there has been a shift in guidelines and corticosteroids have generally been recommended for critically ill COVID-19 patients, and especially those who are receiving mechanical ventilation. [4]


Research suggests that there is increased risk of venous thromboembolism and stroke in individuals infected with COVID-19. [5] This risk appears to be highest in critically ill patients. Although it wasn’t immediately clear which anticoagulants were included in the ICAM protocol, we know from other research that heparin and other synthetic, heparin-like drugs are being assessed for use in COVID-19 treatment because of their anticoagulant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. [6]


Macrolides like azithromycin have been used in combination with other drugs to address COVID-19-related concerns since fairly early on in the pandemic. There is some evidence that azithromycin may have antiviral and immunomodulating properties, although its use (particularly in combination with hydroxychloroquine) has been controversial. [7] [8] Macrolides are also being used on the COVID front to address secondary bacterial or co-infections. [9]


In short, it is believed that ICAM works by preventing coronavirus cases from progressing to the more severe forms. The drug therapy is able to do this by supporting the immune system, decreasing inflammation (especially in the lungs), reducing the likelihood of blood clotting, and preventing secondary infections like bacterial pneumonia.


What is the next step for the ICAM protocol?

In the article referenced, Dr. Carlette Norwood-Williams, Director of Pharmacy at AdventHealth Ocala, expressed her belief that the ICAM protocol has the potential to trigger the reopening of the country.


You’re likely wondering when the data relevant to this study will be available outside of Advent Health Ocala. Well, Dr. Norwood-Williams explained that the efficacy of ICAM is now being assessed in an out-patient study. After Advent Health Ocala’s study is complete and the results are analyzed, we will know what the next steps for the ICAM protocol should be.


Closing

To summarize, a recent news article reported that Advent Health Ocala has implemented a new combination therapy for the treatment of COVID-19. This protocol has a near-perfect success rate and is being touted as the treatment that could lead to the re-opening of the country. The protocol works by modulating the immune system, decreasing inflammation, reducing the likelihood of coagulation, and reducing risk of secondary infections. Advent Health Ocala’s outpatient study involving this new protocol is currently underway and we will know the next steps for the ICAM protocol once this study is complete.





[1] The New York Times. (2020, January 28). Covid World Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak. Retrieved October 07, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-maps.html

[2] Boretti, A., & Banik, B. K. (2020). Intravenous vitamin C for reduction of cytokines storm in acute respiratory distress syndrome. PharmaNutrition, 12, 100190. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phanu.2020.100190

[3] Kumar, A., Kubota, Y., Chernov, M., & Kasuya, H. (2020). Potential role of zinc supplementation in prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19. Medical hypotheses, 144, 109848. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2020.109848

[4] Prescott, H. C., & Rice, T. W. (2020). Corticosteroids in COVID-19 ARDS: Evidence and Hope During the Pandemic. JAMA, 10.1001/jama.2020.16747. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.16747

[5] Al-Ani, F., Chehade, S., & Lazo-Langner, A. (2020). Thrombosis risk associated with COVID-19 infection. A scoping review. Thrombosis research, 192, 152–160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.thromres.2020.05.039

[6] Hippensteel, J. A., LaRiviere, W. B., Colbert, J. F., Langouët-Astrié, C. J., & Schmidt, E. P. (2020). Heparin as a therapy for COVID-19: current evidence and future possibilities. American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology, 319(2), L211–L217. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajplung.00199.2020

[7] Pani, A., Lauriola, M., Romandini, A., & Scaglione, F. (2020). Macrolides and viral infections: focus on azithromycin in COVID-19 pathology. International journal of antimicrobial agents, 56(2), 106053. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.106053

[8] Pani, A., Lauriola, M., Romandini, A., & Scaglione, F. (2020). Macrolides and viral infections: focus on azithromycin in COVID-19 pathology. International journal of antimicrobial agents, 56(2), 106053. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.106053

[9] Bleyzac, N., Goutelle, S., Bourguignon, L., & Tod, M. (2020). Azithromycin for COVID-19: More Than Just an Antimicrobial?. Clinical drug investigation, 40(8), 683–686. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40261-020-00933-3




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