What determines how effective immunosupportive therapies will be in COVID-19 treatment?

I wrote previously about the ICAM protocol, which is a combination COVID-19 therapy that is currently having tremendous success rates and has been touted the therapy that “has the potential to reopen the country.” The ICAM protocol gets its name because it’s comprised of immunosupportive therapies like intravenous vitamin C and zinc, as well as pharmaceutical medication, including corticosteroids, anti-coagulants, and macrolides. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the immunosupportive components of the ICAM protocol (intravenous vitamin C and zinc) and we’ll take a closer look at factors that may determine how effective this component of the protocol will be.


Are the results in on any of the studies involving intravenous vitamin C, zinc, or other immunosupportive therapies in the treatment of COVID-19?

Since the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 dramatically changed our world late 2019 to early 2020, there have been more than 30 clinical trials that have sought to evaluate the efficacy of intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of this viral infection and its associated complications. To date, these studies are still underway, and while the results so far appear to be promising, we will not be able to make a concrete, evidence-based statement regarding the efficacy of IV vitamin C in the treatment of COVID-19 until more of these studies are completed. [1]


Regarding zinc in the treatment of COVID-19, a team of physician researchers from Spain, led by Dr. Roberto Guerri-Fernandez of the Hospital Del Mar in Barcelona, have reported that patients who present to the hospital with lower levels of zinc tend to have higher levels of inflammation throughout the course of the disease and, on average, a worse prognosis. Their research was presented at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases’ Conference on Coronavirus Disease (ECCVID), which was held online from September 23-25, 2020.


While there are currently no completed randomized clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of zinc in the treatment of COVID-19, Dr. Guerri-Fernandez and his team’s research concluded that serum zinc content “is a novel biomarker to predict COVID-19 outcome.” They further stated the following: “We encourage performing randomized clinical trials to study zinc supplementation as potential prophylaxis and treatment with people at risk of zinc deficiency.” [2]


Are there specific factors that may determine how effective intravenous vitamin C will be in the treatment of COVID-19?

A team of researchers associated with the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University have recently published an article that suggests that whether or not IV vitamin C will be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 may depend upon the concentration of vitamin C transporters that the patients have, which these researchers state may vary. [3] These researchers have stated that, although it’s not considered routine to test for vitamin C transporter concentration, this could be done using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and they suggest that this sort of testing may be of value, because it may give us additional information about who will respond best to immunosupportive intravenous vitamin C therapy.


Without sufficient vitamin C transporters on the surface of their cells, individuals who do happen to be treated with high doses of intravenous vitamin C may end up with the water-soluble vitamin clustering around the outside of their cells instead of being transported across the cell’s lipid bilayer and into the cells, where it’s antioxidant effects can spring into action. The team at the Medical College of Georgia have suggested that receiving higher doses of IV vitamin C when one has lower concentrations of the vitamin C transporter may lead to a pro-oxidant effect, instead of the coveted antioxidant effect we’re seeking when we choose to utilize this therapy.


This possibility of having lower concentrations of vitamin C transporters than is considered normal may be the reason why IV vitamin C can be extremely effective at treating disease in many people, while a few others may experience results that are mediocre.


That being said, it’s clear that people with low vitamin C levels may benefit from intravenous vitamin C. The fact remains that those who are most at risk for COVID-19 infection tend to also be at risk for low vitamin C levels. This includes older people, African Americans or other Black people, males, and people living with chronic medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Intravenous or other supplementation with vitamin C will likely be beneficial in these people.


Summary

In conclusion, intravenous vitamin C and zinc have been used as immunosupportive therapies in the treatment of COVID-19, and while the studies involving these therapies are not yet complete, the results have been extremely promising, with protocols involving these and other therapies reporting a “near-perfect” success rate. [4]


New research suggests that those who do not respond to these immunosupportive therapies may have fewer vitamin C transporters on their cells’ surfaces, and this may lead to the vitamin C not being transported into the cells where it can effectively do its job. Testing for vitamin C transporter concentrations using PCR may be a valuable addition to these therapies, as it may provide additional information that may potentially increase the efficacy of these therapies down the line.


Although we don’t currently have a treatment that increases the expression of vitamin C transporters on the cell’s surface, this research may lead to one being developed in the future.


[To learn more about offering intravenous nutrient therapy into your practice, click here.]



[1] Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. (2020, November 11). Vitamin C's effectiveness against COVID-19 may hinge on vitamin's natural transporter levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201111092921.htm

[2] Vogel-González, M., Talló-Parra, M., Herrera-Fernández, V., Pérez-Vilaró, G., Chillón, M., Nogués, X., Gómez-Zorrilla, S., López-Montesinos, I., Villar, J., Sorli-Redó, M.L., Horcajada, J.P., García-Giralt, N., Pascual, J., Díez, J., Vicente, R., Güerri-Fernández, R. (2020). Low zinc levels at clinical admission associates with poor outcomes in COVID-19. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.07.20208645


[3] Patterson, G., Isales, C.M., Fulzele, S. (2020). Low level of Vitamin C and dysregulation of Vitamin C transporter might be involved in the severity of COVID-19 Infection. Aging and Disease. DOI: 10.14336/AD.2020.0918


[4] Orlando, F. (2020, September 25). COVID-19 treatment underway in Florida has near-perfect success rate. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from https://www.fox6now.com/news/covid-19-treatment-underway-in-florida-has-near-perfect-success-rate



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