Can Vitamin C Prevent And Treat Coronavirus?
Coronavirus patients in New York state’s largest hospital system who are critically ill are being given massive doses of vitamin C. And this is based on promising reports that it’s helped people in hard-hit China, The Post has learned.
And Chinese teams are now adding vitamin C to the list of potential therapies, because vitamin C deficiency is related to the increased risk and severity of influenza infections.
ZhiYong Peng, MD of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University recently registered a phase 2 clinical trial on ClinicalTrials.gov to test the efficacy of vitamin C infusions for the treatment of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) associated with the novel coronavirus.
And the study description notes that vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help prevent cytokine-induced damage to the lungs. Cytokines are small proteins released by cells, which trigger inflammation and respond to infections.
Dr Andrew Weber, a Long Island based pulmonologist and critical-care specialist with Northwell Health, shared that he has been immediately giving his intensive-care patients 1,500 milligrams of intravenous vitamin C.
Those patients are then re-administered the doses of the powerful antioxidant three or four times a day, the doctor explained to the New York Post.
Each dose is more than 16 times the daily dietary vitamin allowance of vitamin C advised from the National Institute of Health.
For adult men, the allowance is just 90 milligrams. Women are said to have 75 milligrams.
Weber shared that the regimen is based off experimental treatments that were administered to coronavirus patients in Shanghai, China.
‘The patients who received vitamin C did significantly better than those who did not get vitamin C,’ he said. ‘It helps a tremendous amount, but it is not highlighted because it’s not a sexy drug.’
Jason Molinet, a spokesman for Northwell, said that Vitamin C is being ‘widely used’ as a coronavirus treatment throughout the health system. He noted, however, that the amount given to patients varies.
‘As the clinician decides,’ Molinet added.
Northwell Health is the state’s largest healthcare provider, with 23 hospitals across New York.
According to Molinet, approximately 700 patients across the hospital network are being treated for the coronavirus. He could not specify how many were receiving vitamin C treatment.
There are now 25,665 cases of the virus in New York, including 14,904 in New York City.
Dr Weber explained that the vitamin C is just one treatment being given to patients: they’ve also received the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, various biologics and blood thinners.
Patients with coronavirus who suffer sepsis – an inflammatory response that occurs when the body overreact to the infection – suffer significant drops in vitamin C levels, Weber shared.
‘It makes all the sense in the world to try and maintain this level of vitamin C,’ he said.
A clinical trial into the effectiveness of intravenous vitamin C patients with coronavirus was conducted on February 14 at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, China.
The hospital is in epicenter of the outbreak for the country.
Will vitamin C be effective to prevent and treat novel coronavirus? The vitamin C is given in addition to such medicines as the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, various biologics and blood thinners, Weber said.
As of Tuesday, New York hospitals have federal permission to give patients a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to desperately ill patients on a “compassionate care” basis.
President Trump has tweeted that the unproven, combination therapy has “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”
Weber, 34, said vitamin C levels in coronavirus patients drop dramatically when they suffer sepsis, an inflammatory response that occurs when their bodies overreact to the infection.
But in the interim, take the recommended precautions to keep yourself and family safe from the virus, including avoiding close contact with those who are sick by practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently.
And please seek medical attention if you develop fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.