Coronavirus Update: What are we hearing about a vaccine and treatments

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As I’m writing this, the number of cases of coronavirus in the United States has topped 158,000. New hot spots are developing across the country, showing us that the worst is yet to come.

Suddenly even people who believed that the virus was nothing more than a passing threat, overblown in the news and media, are worrying about what will happen if they are stricken with the virus and hospitals become overwhelmed.

Yet, there is hope — let’s talk about that…

Where do we stand with treatments for coronavirus?

Doctors across the globe are testing medications used to treat other illnesses — from malaria and Ebola to the ones they use for the flu — to see if they work on COVID-19.

These drugs include:

Chloroquine — Used in cases of malaria, lupus, and more
Remdesivir — Antiviral treatment for Ebola
APN01 — A respiratory drug
Lopinavir and Ritonavir — Drugs used in the battle against HIV

Although these are the drugs that have so far shown promise when it comes to coronavirus, it’s still too early to tell which (if any) will come out as the definitive treatment.

But The Food and Drug Administration has approved the promising malaria drug, Chloroquine, for emergency use to treat hospitalized patients for COVID-19.

A vitamin C treatment

Surprisingly, vitamin C also may come to the forefront as part of an in-hospital treatment protocol.

Large doses of vitamin C are being administered — along with medicines such as hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, various biologics and blood thinners — to patients in intensive care at certain hospitals in New York.

Dr. Andrew Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist affiliated with two health care facilities on Long Island reports, “The patients who received vitamin C did significantly better than those who did not get vitamin C. It helps a tremendous amount, but it is not highlighted because it’s not a sexy drug.”

Vitamin C is being administered intravenously in quantities that exceed the daily recommended dose, which is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women as recommended by the National Institutes of Health.

Other experts are quick to add that they don’t think vitamin C will help protect anyone from getting COVID-19. But I think they are missing an important point… vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. And because most of us don’t eat an ideal diet, meaning most of us don’t get the recommended daily allowance of nutrients our body needs, could it hurt to take vitamin C before you get sick?

We will know in the coming weeks how valuable vitamin C could be.

Scientists at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, China, have begun a clinical trial to determine that, but no results have yet been published. The completion date for their research is scheduled for the end of September 2020 — when they hope to have shown that vitamin C reduces the inflammatory effects of the disease in the lungs.

How close are we to a vaccine?

Johnson & Johnson announced this week that they will begin human testing of an experimental vaccine by September.

That’s great news, but your doctor won’t be calling you in to be vaccinated anytime soon.

They have to gather clinical data on its effects and hope to have that completed by year-end. That means a vaccine could be available for emergency use in early 2021. So, we all have a lot of self-care to continue.

Caring for yourself at home

I’ve washed my hands so much I’m starting to get raisin fingers. Seriously though, it’s probably the most important piece of advice we’ve gotten, along with social distancing.

And if you think about it — it’s common sense, right?

Do you know what else is common sense? Good nutrition and taking your vitamins.

Even though you’re probably having a hard time getting the foods you normally like to eat, it’s more important than ever to eat right.

Nutrition is what keeps the body going, and even though conventional medicine has gotten far removed from thinking of food as medicine, there’s no reason not to do what we can do for our own health.

Eat colorful fruits and vegetables as much as you can. If that’s hard right now, use natural supplements to help keep your immune system strong, such as vitamins C and D, zinc and even garlic.

I’m in no way telling you this will keep COVID-19 away, but any dietician will tell you that giving your body the nutrition it needs helps it better stand up to any stressor — and illness of any kind is a stressor.

Greens supplements help many people — including me — get the nutrition boost they need.

Coronavirus is spreading rapidly and the time to learn all you can to protect yourself is now. Stay strong, stay safe, and know that we are all in this together.