At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wrote a blog about the importance of being outdoors and how easily the virus spreads indoors, despite mask wearing. I emphasized the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus, in order of effectiveness: 1) ventilation, 2) filtration, and 3) mask wearing.
A significant amount of data now indicates that indoor transmission of the virus far outstrips outdoor transmission. This is likely the result of longer exposure times and decreased turbulence levels (and therefore dispersion) found indoors.[i] A recently published paper in JAMA[ii] has confirmed exactly that.
Ventilation and Filtration Reduce the Concentration of Viral Particles
There is no question that the most effective methods to reduce the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 particles in indoor air include ventilation and filtration. Observational studies along with modeling suggest substantial effectiveness for these strategies used alone, combined, and with other approaches.
For example, in one study conducted in 2020 that included 169 Georgia elementary schools, the incidence of COVID-19 was 39% lower in 87 schools that improved ventilation compared with 37 schools that did not; 35% lower in 39 schools that improved ventilation through dilution alone; and 48% lower in 31 schools that improved ventilation through dilution along with the addition of improved filtration.[iii] A simulation model found that filtration with two high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners alone or combined with mask wearing could potentially reduce exposure to infectious particles by an estimated 65% or 90%, respectively.[iv]
An individual can wear a mask in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but as these studies found, it is more important to open windows and doors, turn on fans and open vents, and use portable air cleaners. Honestly, I don’t understand why these simple methods were not employed at the onset of the pandemic. Instead, we went crazy with disinfection, often with strong chemicals, only to find out this had little to no effect on stopping the spread of COVID-19.
The Dangers of Disinfectants
In the attempt to prevent and control infection, the use of disinfectants skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are significant concerns regarding the large-scale use of disinfectants and sanitizers, including worrisome effects on human and animal health and harmful impacts on the environment and ecological balance.[v]
Studies show the excessive use of disinfectants poses a potential threat to living beings and ecosystems,[vi] with a myriad of side effects reported.[vii] For example, using chlorine bleach increases the risk of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, infertility, and impaired brain development in children.[viii] Even the seemingly benign act of too-frequent hand washing with soap and alcohol-based sanitizers can cause painfully dry, cracked skin and potential skin infections. More alarming is that alcohol-based sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning, especially in infants or young children.[ix]
An Israeli worker in a hazmat suit sprays disinfectant in the cabin of an Israir Airlines Airbus A320 airplane at Ben Gurion International Airport on June 14, 2020. Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images
A Reality Check from the CDC
In April of 2021, the CDC finally admitted that COVID-19 infections very rarely spread to people from surfaces.[x] However, because of fear instilled by the pandemic, many people have not relinquished their need to constantly disinfect and sanitize themselves and everything they come into contact with. Adding to the disinfection obsession is that many private and public businesses and venues employ drastic fumigation measures in an attempt to reassure the wary public.
It’s important to realize that the fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets, sidewalks, unpaved walkways, and marketplaces is not a useful tool for eradicating the COVID-19 virus or any other pathogen. Any type of disinfectant is immediately inactivated by dirt and debris.[xi]
Here’s a disturbing statistic: In China, 2000–5000 tons of disinfectants have been dispensed in Wuhan alone since the beginning of the pandemic.[xii]
Overuse of Disinfectants is Leading to Pathogenic Resistance through Hormenis
The overuse of disinfectants is creating a serious problem. Collated evidence from multiple studies shows that the chemicals used for disinfectant products can induce hormesis in plants, animal cells, and microorganisms. This is true when applied singly or in mixtures, suggesting potential ecological risks at sub-threshold doses that are normally considered safe.
Among other negative effects, sub-threshold doses of disinfectant chemicals can enhance the proliferation and pathogenicity of pathogenic microbes, enhancing the development and spread of drug resistance.
The massive application of disinfectants for containing COVID-19 is a double-edged sword, in that it may inhibit/prevent the virus but also imposes potentially significant but non-apparent costs or risks by affecting other non-target organisms in a dose-dependent manner, and by promoting traits of drug resistance.[xiii]
Weighing the Risk-to-Benefit Ratio
We need to do a better job when it comes to weighing the risk-to-benefit ratio of practices such as widespread disinfection. And we need to evaluate these practices carefully, considering the immediate side effects and the long-term implications.
I always advocate for a less invasive, more natural approach for supporting health. In terms of disinfection, I recommend using essential oils instead of chemicals. Plant extracts and essential oils provide a full-spectrum and safer approach to mediating the spread of viruses, without any of the detrimental personal or environmental effects of chemicals. For more on this, see my blog from December 17, 2021, entitled “Essential Oils with Anti-Viral Properties” at https://www.donnieyance.com/essential-oils-with-anti-viral-properties/.
[i] Bhagat, R., Davies Wykes, M., Dalziel, S., & Linden, P. (2020). Effects of ventilation on the indoor spread of COVID-19. Journal of Fluid Mechanics,903, F1. doi:10.1017/jfm.2020.720
[ii] Dowell D, Lindsley WG, Brooks JT. Reducing SARS-CoV-2 in Shared Indoor Air. JAMA. Published online June 07, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.9970
[iii] Gettings J, Czarnik M, Morris E, et al. Mask use and ventilation improvements to reduce COVID-19 incidence in elementary schools—Georgia, November 16–December 11, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70(21):779-784. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7021e1PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
[iv] Lindsley WG, Derk RC, Coyle JP, et al. Efficacy of portable air cleaners and masking for reducing indoor exposure to simulated exhaled SARS-CoV-2 aerosols—United States, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70(27):972-976. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7027e1
[v] Dhama, K., Patel, S. K., Kumar, R., Masand, R., Rana, J., Yatoo, M. I., Tiwari, R., Sharun, K., Mohapatra, R. K., Natesan, S., Dhawan, M., Ahmad, T., Emran, T. B., Malik, Y. S., & Harapan, H. (2021). The role of disinfectants and sanitizers during COVID-19 pandemic: advantages and deleterious effects on humans and the environment. Environmental science and pollution research international, 28(26), 34211–34228. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-14429-w
[vi] Chen Z, Guo J, Jiang Y, Shao Y. High concentration and high dose of disinfectants and antibiotics used during the COVID-19 pandemic threaten human health. Environ Sci Eur. 2021;33(1):11. doi: 10.1186/s12302-021-00456-4.
[vii] Yari S, Moshammer H, Asadi AF, Mosavi Jarrahi A. Side effects of using disinfectants to fight covid-19. Asian Pacific Journal of Environment and Cancer. 2020;3(1):9013. doi: 10.31557/apjec.2020.3.1.9-13.
[ix] Santos, C., Kieszak, S., Wang, A., Law, R., Schier, J., Wolkin, A.J.M.M., report, m.w., 2017. Reported adverse health effects in children from ingestion of alcohol-based hand sanitizers—United States, 2011–2014. 66, 223.
[xi] Ghafoor D, Khan Z, Khan A, Ualiyeva D, Zaman N. Excessive use of disinfectants against COVID-19 posing a potential threat to living beings. Curr Res Toxicol. 2021;2:159-168. doi: 10.1016/j.crtox.2021.02.008. Epub 2021 Mar 4. PMID: 33688633; PMCID: PMC7931675.
[xii] Zhang H., Tang W., Chen Y., Yin W. Disinfection threatens aquatic ecosystems. Science.2020;368:146–147. doi: 10.1126/science.abb8905
[xiii] Agathokleous, E., Barceló, D., Iavicoli, I., Tsatsakis, A., & Calabrese, E. J. (2022). Disinfectant-induced hormesis: An unknown environmental threat of the application of disinfectants to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection during the COVID-19 pandemic?. Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 292(Pt B), 118429. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.118429
I have always been a proponent of medical freedom and believe that individuals should weigh the risk-to-benefit ratio when deciding anything when it comes to modern medicine. Unfortunately, so much of what we’re led to believe about the safety of the novel coronavirus vaccine is false and mis-leading. Although there many reputable doctors and scientists willing to voice concerns and openly debate the risks, their voices are not being heard by the majority of the public and their professional careers and reputations are being threatened and often smeared, distorted, and censored by the media. It is more important than ever to have truth and transparency when it comes to new technologies in medicine.
Traditional vaccines present the entire virus in a live-attenuated form (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, rotavirus, Sabin oral poliovirus, yellow fever, and some influenza vaccines) or an inactivated form (Salk poliovirus, hepatitis A, rabies, and some other influenza vaccines), leading to a polyclonal response to not just one, but a number of viral proteins. This multiplicity of humoral and T cell responses probably explains why no convincing vaccine escape strains have been documented for these viruses; with the exception to this being the influenza virus. The mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 however, are engineered in an entirely different way, with a far more complex design and effect.
“When one tries to rise above nature, one is liable to fall below it.” – Sherlock Holmes
While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains that vaccine immunity is superior to natural immunity, evidence continues to mount suggesting that natural immunity is superior and long-lasting. In my coverage of Covid-19 over the past two years, I’ve documented several studies supporting the fact that natural immunity is superior to vaccination, including studies conducted while the Delta variant was dominant. One study, published January 20th, 2022, was backed by the CDC.
According to a study published in JAMA in early February 2022, antibody protection against COVID-19 among the recovered was detected by researchers at 20 months post-infection, adding to the body of evidence that such protection, known as natural immunity, is long-lasting.
Natural Immunity is Strong and Durable
Researchers found antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain in 99 percent of study participants who tested positive for COVID-19, with some having had the illness 20 months prior.
“The major takeaway is that natural immunity … is strong and durable,” says Dr. Dorry Segev, the Director of the Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation at Johns Hopkins University.
Natural immunity occurs from an orchestrated immune response which includes not only T and B cells, but-interferons (a family of cytokins with anti-viral properties) and other first-line defenders, while vaccine induced immunity shares some of the same response, is less robust, and less orchestrated. A central point is the important distinction between the impact of vaccination versus natural infection on type I interferon (IFN). While vaccination actively suppresses its production, natural infection promotes type I IFN production very early in the disease cycle.,
This is a very important distinction because the argument stating vaccine immunity is better is solely based on the fact that mRNA vaccinations produce more neutralizing receptor binding domain antibodies than natural immunity, which involves many more immunologically active components.
The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines’ ability to produce adverse reactions in individuals suffering from immune-mediated diseases, with therefore an inherent pre-existing dysregulation of the immune response, has not been investigated. In such cases, mRNA may bind pattern recognition receptors in endosomes or cytosol and cause immune chaos, as if the orchestra lost the music score. This leads to the activation of several pro-inflammatory cascades, including the assembly of inflammasome platforms, the type I IFN response and the nuclear translocation of the transcription factor nuclear factor (NF)-kB.
Importantly, the up-regulation of these immunological pathways is widely considered to be at the basis of several immune-mediated diseases, especially in genetically predisposed subjects who have an impaired clearance of nucleic acids.
A recent publication (January 21, 2022) in the Journal Authorea, goes as far as to state the following concerns with regard to the mRNA vaccines: “the genetic modifications introduced by the vaccine are likely the source of these differential responses. In this paper, we present the evidence that vaccination, unlike natural infection, induces a profound impairment in type I interferon signaling, which has diverse adverse consequences to human health. We explain the mechanism by which immune cells release into the circulation, large quantities of exosomes containing spike protein along with critical microRNAs that induce a signaling response in recipient cells at distant sites. We also identify potential profound disturbances in regulatory control of protein synthesis and cancer surveillance. These disturbances are shown to have a potentially direct causal link to neurodegenerative disease, myocarditis, immune thrombocytopenia, Bell’s palsy, liver disease, impaired adaptive immunity increased tumorigenesis, and DNA damage.”
Long before COVID-19, it has been well known within the scientific community that a person develops natural immunity after recovering from an infection. The protection afforded by natural immunity is what all vaccines strive to achieve. Some vaccines do this better than others, but vaccines rarely surpass natural immunity.
The Pursuit of Truth
On Nov. 28, 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical adviser to the President of the United States, said on CBS’s Face the Nation: “It’s easy to criticize [me], but they are really criticizing science, because I represent science.”
Once the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak had begun, virologists quickly reached the conclusion that the pandemic was almost certainly of natural origin. Quickly the media called out such a notice has a radical conspiracy theory and the possibility of a lab leak was actively censored by Facebook and other social media platforms. Nonetheless, significant evidence has continued to build in support of the “lab leak hypothesis,” so much so I invite you to read this paper entitled, “Thunder out of China” by Yuri Deigin, in Interference, Vol. 6, No. 4, February 2022. Be prepared to be enlightened. There are 152 citations in the paper, and they all support what the author Yuri speaks to.
It seems as though our government and most of the media censors anything other than what is considered to be “science.” I believe in the value of science, but I also believe that we should have open debate instead of being told what is the “truth.”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines science as “knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation.” So, science is human knowledge of facts. It has nothing to do with human intention or politics. Consider the fact that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) represents science in China. The CCP’s science is not to be criticized or questioned, but to be followed. If you criticize the Party, you are criticizing the representative of science. Now suddenly, in the United States, it seems that anyone who challenges the validity of the mRNA vaccines is labeled “anti-science” which has given rise to those that are so extreme in the opposite direction that even among the medical community they are now referred to as “anti-anti-science”.
Science is simply about facts and truth. The interpretation of facts is often debated to reach well-thought-out conclusions. Research findings must go through a peer-review process before being recognized as scientific. According to Joe Wang, PhD: “It seemed that the SARS-CoV-2 origin narrative had been decided upon—even when the existing facts did not support the narrative. The scientists took the existing facts and forced them to fit the preferred narrative, and also forced the general public to accept it, while silencing all other opinions and essentially banning scientific debate on the issue.”
Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Severity, Deaths among COVID-19 Patients
If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that science is confirming over and over again that normalizing vitamin D levels consistently is associated with significantly better outcomes in COVID-19 patients. A new study has found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with severe cases of COVID-19 as well as mortality. The research has been published in the ‘PLOS ONE Journal’.
Existing literature suggests a potential protective effect of supplemental vitamin D in preventing and treating COVID-19 disease. A published meta-analysis of 43 observational studies analyzing data obtained from 612,601 patients showed that vitamin D deficiency (defined as 25(OH)D of 30 ng/mL (odds ratio [OR], 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.19 to 1.34; p < 0.01). One meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and two Quasi-experimental analyzing data obtained from 467 patients has raised doubt as to whether low vitamin D is associated with an increased risk of acquiring COVID-19. A more recent placebo-controlled, double-blind RCT tested the effect of calcifediol 25 (OH)D3 treatment in 106 COVID-19 Iranian patients and found that an oral calcifediol treatment resulted in improved immune function with an increased blood lymphocyte percentage and reduced blood neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio compared to the placebo group. An additional retrospective study found that prescription of calcifediol or vitamin D, 15–30 days before hospitalization with COVID-19 infections, was found to improved patient survival in a large retrospective, hospitalized, Andalusian cohort.
In a study, researchers from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University in Safed, Israel and the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Israel showed a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 severity and mortality.
The study is among the first to analyze vitamin D levels prior to infection, which facilitates a more accurate assessment than during hospitalization, when levels may be lower secondary to the viral illness. The findings reported build upon results initially published on MedRxiv. The records of 1,176 patients admitted between April 2020 and February 2021 to the Galilee Medical Center with positive PCR tests were searched for vitamin D levels measured two weeks to two years prior to infection.
So, why is there still no mention what-so-ever about the benefits of vitamin D, or any other natural compounds and therapies that might be helpful? For one, there is no money to be made. Over the course of the pandemic, legislators and other government officials have invested heavily in the stock of vaccine manufacturers, and reaped significant financial gains from these investments. Pharma companies have reciprocally poured millions into the campaign of sympathetic congress members. Pharma companies also send large sums of money to the CDC as well. They send money for lobbying to influence the government purchases of their products and resist efforts to render their drugs more accessible or affordable. All said, lawmakers, government officials and agencies, and pharmaceutical companies have all made vast amounts of cash by working together with one another over the course of the pandemic., Keep in mind that each additional round of shots generates billions for vaccine manufacturers. Pharmaceutical companies have a clear stake in multiple rounds being mandated or encouraged for as many people as possible, in as many places as possible (at as high a price as possible). Dr. Fauci is now proposing a 4th shot. It is hard not to see bias in all of this.
“Faith is much better than belief. Belief is when someone else does the thinking.” ~ Buckminster Fuller
Wisdom and Knowledge
Wisdom and knowledge have quite a bit in common. Both words are primarily used as nouns that are related to learning. The word knowledge is defined first as the “acquaintance with facts, truths or principles, as from study or investigation.Wisdom is defined as “the state of being wise,” which means “having the power of discernment and judging properly as to what is true or right: possessing discernment, judgement, or discretion.” It is older (recorded before the 900s), and joins wise and -dom, a suffix that can convey “general condition,” as in freedom. Wisdom is typically gained from experiences and acquired over time. It flows through the sub conscious and conscious mind.
ETMS (Eclectic Triphasic Medical System) – The Mederi Care Medical Approach to health and healing. Synergistic • Unitive • Personalized • Adaptive
Below is a visual aid I created that highlights the importance of “purity of heart” that allows us to free ourselves from bias and seek Truth:
The great Eclectic School of Medicine had a motto: “To Love the Truth, To Prove the Truth, To Apply the Truth, and To Promote the Truth.”
Finding Truth involves wisdom. Wisdom involves an understanding of the nature, source, and limits of knowledge, together with the degree to which we are able to “teotl” (to understand with the Divine Spirit, taken from the Aztec religion).
“The greatest scientists are artists as well,” said Albert Einstein. For Einstein, insight did not come from logic or mathematics. It came, as it does for artists, from intuition and inspiration. Einstein also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.“
The Approach of Logical Positivism
Conventional medicine encompasses an inherently restricted set of categories and paradigms for understanding patients and diseases. But given that no single method is suitable for all patients, problems, and situations, this approach is far from optimal.
I propose logical positivism as an alternative to the current dogmatic, narrow view of modern conventional medicine. Logical positivism is spiritual-rationality in the most pristine form. It is considered culturally universal in traditional healing systems, and incorporates traditional wisdom, scientific knowledge, logic, intuition, and prayer, making it applicable to all modalities and situations.
 Tomás M. León, PhD1; Vajeera Dorabawila, PhD2; Lauren Nelson, MPH1; Emily Lutterloh, MD2,3; Ursula E. Bauer, PhD2; Bryon Backenson, MPH2,3; Mary T. Bassett, MD2; Hannah Henry, MPH1; Brooke Bregman, MPH1; Claire M. Midgley, PhD4; Jennifer F. Myers, MPH1; Ian D. Plumb, MBBS4; Heather E. Reese, PhD4; Rui Zhao, MPH1; Melissa Briggs-Hagen, MD4; Dina Hoefer, PhD2; James P. Watt, MD1; Benjamin J. Silk, PhD4; Seema Jain, MD1; Eli S. Rosenberg, PhD, COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations by COVID-19 Vaccination Status and Previous COVID-19 Diagnosis — California and New York, May–November 2021, Weekly / January 28, 2022 / 71(4);125–131, On January 19, 2022, this report was posted online as an MMWR Early Release.
 Yu, Y., Esposito, D., Kang, Z. et al. mRNA vaccine-induced antibodies more effective than natural immunity in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 and its high affinity variants. Sci Rep12, 2628 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-06629-2
With record levels of Covid cases at an all-time high since the onset of the pandemic due to the latest highly transmissible Omicron variant ,people across the globe are increasingly fed up with ineffective methods to control the transmission by lockdowns, mandates and inoculating the planet. As we head into the third year of the virus, it’s time for governing bodies to change the strategy for living in a post-pandemic world.
Recently, a leading Israeli Immunologist, Professor Ehud Qimron, head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Tel Aviv University declared, in an open letter to the Israel Health Ministry regarding COVID-19 policy : “The truth is that you have burned hundreds of billions of shekels to no avail – for publishing intimidation, for ineffective tests, for destructive lockdowns, and for disrupting the routine of life in the last two years.” He goes on to say: “In the end, the truth will always be revealed, and the truth about the coronavirus policy is beginning to be revealed. When the destructive concepts collapse one by one, there is nothing left but to tell the experts who led the management of the pandemic – we told you so.”
Vaccines No Match for Omicron and a Look at COVID-19 in Africa
We’ve been living with COVID-19 now for more than two years, and questions continue to
arise about the best approach for prevention and treatment. I have never been asked about anything as much as the COVID-19 vaccines and never have I seen so much doubt and confusion among so many people. The emergence of the Omicron variant has made the issue more confusing and raises more questions about the efficacy of vaccines against COVID-19. Interpreting the reality of the effectiveness of these vaccines is complicated, especially when some of the new data is not robust and is often murky. Patients and doctors looking to the CDC for guidance in decision-making receive low-quality or outdated information. All too often, straightforward relative data – such as the benefits of normalizing vitamin D and zinc levels – is ignored. Please see my earlier blogs on Zinc and Vitamin D for more information here “Zinc the Most Important Nutrient for Immunity” and “There’s No Substitute for Sunlight: The Essential Influence of Nature’s Sunshine Vitamin on Health“
Although Omicron is now 73% of all new cases in the US, I don’t feel we need to press the panic button. I have some hypotheses on the emergence of the Omicron variant that could put the brakes on the doom and gloom scenario we are all being fed.
According to a study published on December 16th, authored by more than 20 scientists at Columbia and the University of Hong Kong, a striking feature of the Omicron variant is the large number of spike mutations that pose a threat to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine boosters and antibody therapies. The scientists express concern that the variant’s “extensive” mutations can “greatly compromise” the vaccine, even neutralizing it. The report said the booster shots prevent some of the neutralization, but the variant “may still pose a risk” for those with their third shot. “Even a third booster shot may not adequately protect against Omicron infection,” the study said.
Omicron is spreading faster than previous variants of the novel coronavirus with the virus now in at least 90 countries since it first appeared in South Africa last month. Therefore, the Omicron variant could “out compete” other variants, including the more dangerous Delta variant – thus becoming the dominant variant. However, Omicron infections seem to be less severe and hospitalization and death nowhere near the rates of the other variants. Early reports suggest South Africa were reporting that people testing positive are presenting with mild symptoms: “In fact, they said, most of their infected patients were admitted for other reasons and have no Covid symptoms.” In other words, most of these patients had evidence of infection with SARS-CoV-2 but did not have COVID-19.
What about Africa and Omicron?
There is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said. Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated.
“I think there’s a different cultural approach in Africa, where these countries have approached COVID-19 with a sense of humility because they’ve experienced things like Ebola, polio and malaria,” Sridhar said.
In past months, the coronavirus has pummeled South Africa and is estimated to have killed more than 89,000 people there, by far the most deaths on the continent. But for now, African authorities, while acknowledging that there could be gaps, are not reporting huge numbers of unexpected fatalities that might be COVID-19 related. WHO data shows that deaths in Africa make up just 3% of the global total. In comparison, deaths in the Americas and Europe account for 46% and 29%.
In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, the government has recorded nearly 3,000 deaths so far among its 200 million population. The U.S. records that many deaths every two or three days.
Why Some Viruses Can Be Good
Not all viruses are bad, and perhaps the Omicron variant could actually help us to overcome the pandemic. Omicron, like some viruses, can actually fight against more dangerous viruses and more dangerous COVID-19 variants such as the Delta variant. Keep in mind that viruses typically evolve to become less lethal over time. Like wolves domesticated into dogs, disease-causing viruses seem to become tamer in an effort to survive. The reasoning goes that, sooner or later, SARS-CoV-2 must “lose its fangs and become as boring as the common cold”.
Generally, like protective bacteria (probiotics), we have several protective viruses in our body. I am a believer in hormesis and building adaptive response/immunity. For example, viral infections at a young age are important to ensure the proper development of our immune system. Yet, we keep believing we should vaccinate against everything that poses a threat, even if the threat is mild. We should vaccinate when we have a real threat, and we have proven, non-leaky, and safe vaccines. But this should still be a personal decision and based on a multitude of factors; such as the frail and elderly. Elderly individuals are the most susceptible to an aggressive form of COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2.
In some cases, latent (non-symptomatic) herpes viruses can help human natural killer cells (a specific type of white blood cell) identify cancer cells and cells infected by other pathogenic viruses. They arm the natural killer cells with antigens (a foreign substance that can cause an immune response in the body) that will enable them to identify tumor cells.
Researchers working in Uganda said they found COVID-19 patients with high rates of exposure to malaria were less likely to suffer severe disease or death than people with little history of the disease.
If the Omicron variant is truly as transmissible as the say and significantly less harmful – some reports say 1/10 as strong – should we be afraid of it?
The main part of my personal practice is supporting people with cancer, and there are many situations where approaching cancer with low-dose metronomic chemotherapy yields significantly better results than standard-of-care high dose chemotherapy. In Oncology, systemic chemotherapies typically use the maximum tolerated dose to cause maximum tumor cell death. However, this paradigm has been challenged, particularly in older people and those who have reoccurring cancer, by theoretical models of tumor evolution, which suggest that removal of all cells that are sensitive to chemotherapy permits unopposed proliferation of any remaining resistant cells — a phenomenon called ‘competitive release’. Competitive release applies to viruses and different mutations and occurs when one of two species competing for the same resource disappears, thereby allowing the remaining competitor to utilize the resource more fully than it could in the presence of the first species.
Based on this model, an evolution-based treatment strategy that maintains a residual population of chemotherapy-sensitive cells should suppress growth of resistant cells when therapy is withdrawn, as the drug-sensitive cells have a fitness advantage in this condition.
A 2016 study designed an evolution-based treatment strategy using taxol (paclitaxel) adaptive therapy (AT), and compared this with standard taxol therapy (ST) in orthotopic xenograft mouse models of triple-negative and estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Two AT regimens were tested: AT-1, which maintains dosing frequency, but decreases paclitaxel dose as a tumor responds, and AT-2, which uses the same doses of paclitaxel, but doses are skipped when a tumor has responded. The treatment algorithms relied on tumor volume measurements determined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as this could be used clinically.
In both mouse models, ST initially suppressed tumor growth, but exponential growth resumed following treatment cessation. AT-1 had the same effect as ST initially but was able to maintain a stable tumor burden similar to the initial tumor volume throughout the experiment (∼2 months). This allowed continued reduction of the paclitaxel dose, and eventually treatment withdrawal in some cases. Interestingly, AT-2 controlled tumor volume for longer than ST, but unlike AT-1, tumors treated using AT-2 eventually progressed. A direct comparison between AT-1 and AT-2 indicated that AT-1 provided better tumor growth control.
The failure to trigger an effective adaptive immune response in combination with a higher pro-inflammatory tonus may explain why the elderly do not appropriately control viral replication and the potential clinical consequences triggered by a cytokine storm, endothelial injury, and disseminated organ injury.
Perhaps the best approach would be to implement strategies, such as herbal medicine and nutritional compounds, including Zinc, Vitamin D, Quercetin, Selenium and an immune health-promoting diet, which provides a diverse and robust GUT microbiota. This would be a sensible, cost-effective, approach that supports and optimizes innate health and the immune response.
Dysregulation of the gut microbiota (gut dysbiosis) is an important risk factor as the gut microbiota is associated with the development and maintenance of an effective immune system response. The elderly have a significantly increased susceptibility to infections and it has been reported that probiotic bacteria from the genus bifidobacterium can enhance certain aspects of cellular immunity in the elderly. The best places to find this beneficial bacterium are yogurt, probiotics like kefir, or sauerkraut.
Selenium is a trace mineral which is deficient in many people. It plays an important role in free radical scavenging, targeting oxidative damage, a major factor in the COVID-19 “cytokine storm,” which is the immune response with an overproduction of cytokines and other immune cells that can lead to a rapid multi-organ failure and damage to the lungs, heart and kidneys. Animal studies show that selenium with ginseng stem/leaf saponins increase the immune response against infectious bronchitis causes by a live coronavirus vaccine.
This may provide all those infected by SARS-CoV-2, to develop a milder disease and help them to clear the virus through an efficient adaptive immune response. With a milder form of COVID-19, being infected by the Omicron variant could be the path to building natural immunity which builds effective immune memory that can persist for decades and typically results in enhanced responses and accelerated pathogen control, and a generation of robust and durable T and B cell alike; and this goes beyond the detection of antibodies. The absence of specific antibodies in the serum does not necessarily mean an absence of immune memory.
Wishing a Joyous Christmas, Winter Solstice, belated Chanukah, and a Happy New Year to you and our world. May our prayers be our words in deeds, and may our earth be made very peaceful because of each of us.
 Lihong Liu, Sho Iketani, Yicheng Guo, Jasper Fuk Woo Chan, Maple Wang, Liyuan Liu, Yang Luo, Hin Chu, Yiming Huang, Manoj S. Nair, Jian Yu, Kenn Ka-Heng Chik, Terrence Tsz-Tai Yuen, Chaemin Yoon, Kelvin Kai-Wang To, Honglin Chen, Michael T. Yin, Magdalena E. Sobieszczyk, Yaoxing Huang, Harris H. Wang, Zizhang Sheng, Kwok-Yung Yuen, David D. Ho; Striking Antibody Evasion Manifested by the Omicron Variant of SARS-CoV-2, preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.14.472719
 Chen C, Zhang XR, Ju ZY, He WF. (2020). Advances In The Research Of Cytokine Storm Mechanism Induced By Corona Virus Disease 2019 And The Corresponding Immunotherapies. Zhonghua Shao Shang Za Shi (Chinese Journal of Burns), 36(0), E005. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.cn501120-20200224-00088. http://rs.yiigle.com/yufabiao/1183285.htm