Coronavirus: A Physician's Perspective
My patients ask: “What should I do to prepare?”
Posted March 4, 2020 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma
The first issue: How dangerous is this virus?
In China, where the quality of health care is significantly lower than in the US, the mortality rate is about 3.4 percent. About 84,000 people have been identified as having the virus, and there have been 2869 deaths. In reality, many more people have had the virus, but have not been identified, since the symptoms for most people are no different than a cold or mild flu. The mortality rate is likely much lower.
By comparison, the CDC estimates that up to 42.9 million people got sick during the 2018-2019 flu season, 647,000 people were hospitalized and 61,200 died. That’s fairly on par with a typical season (1). In general, the largest risk, as with the flu, is for those who are very young, elderly or suffering from other major medical illnesses. I believe most of the panic is being sewn by worries over the financial effects (a self-fulfilling prophecy), which will pass.
The second question: What can be done?
If the virus spreads in the U.S., normal procedures to limit contracting a viral or bacterial illness from others should be instituted. This includes frequent washing of hands (30 seconds after contact with surfaces), use of gloves, masks, staying in well/ventilated areas, avoiding social gatherings, staying away from those who are sick (quarantine), etc.
From a functional medicine perspective, I would like to make two points:
First, I believe that one group not generally mentioned as those most at risk, are those with adrenal insufficiency. While not widely recognized, Jeffries an endocrinologist with more than 40 years’ experience (author of “The Safe Uses of Cortisol”), recognized that the flu (a viral illness) is actually shortened by the use of physiologic doses of hydrocortisone. I have seen this to be true.
Many of the symptoms of Addison’s disease (adrenal failure) are consistent with symptoms of the flu—including low body temperature, feeling easily chilled, cool intolerance, severe 'bone deep' muscle and bone pain, severe fatigue, reduced ability to mount an effective immune response against bacteria or viruses, and reduced cognitive abilities.
In my practice, patients who are on hydrocortisone for adrenal insufficiency recover from infections and flu much more readily when they receive increased doses of the bio-identical steroid, hydrocortisone, usually about 40-50mg per day. The bottom line here is that should one contract the virus, and develop pneumonia, assessing adrenal axis function (which is often reduced as part of the virus’s survival strategy) can make a very significant impact on the course of the viral illness, and even secondary bacterial infections that may occur.
The second point is a preventative and possible treatment strategy, which some patients have found quite helpful: the use of Silver nanoparticles (Sovereign Silver is what I recommend). Silver has many relevant properties: antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-biofilm, augmenting antibiotic efficacy. Regarding viruses, AgNP (Silver nanoparticles) [in test tube] prevented the transmission of HIV-1, have inhibitory activity against HIV, HEP B virus, Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2, Human parainfluenza virus type 3, and reduced viability of viruses.
A study of AgNP in mice (intranasal) showed” "significantly enhanced survival, lower lung viral titer levels, minor pathologic lesions in lung tissue, and remarkable survival advantage after infection with the H3N2 influenza virus, suggesting that AgNPs had a significant role in mice survival.” (2, 3). This suggests that if one needs to take precautionary measures in the event of a local outbreak one could use intranasal silver, every few hours to lower viral load, and use it frequently should the infection take hold.
In my practice, in some people, it actually prevents lung infection, bronchitis and asthma, during colds or flu, and breaks up the mucus in the lung (biofilm) and sinuses rapidly. Again, while this is not proven in double-blind randomized placebo-controlled studies, we do not have the luxury of waiting for this type of study, which will never be funded in any event.
Are there side effects to the use of Silver?
Possibly. There is a mouse study which indicates that silver actually localizes in the hippocampus and, therefore, theoretically it could affect memory. I have not seen this in my patients.
a) Don’t worry too much. In my opinion the danger is markedly overstated. Financial panic is being conflated with health risks.
b) Be educated about the stress axis (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis) and whether you or a loved one is at risk, and how to manage this if illness strikes
c) Consider having a few bottles of silver nanoparticle spray on hand. Should the outbreak occur, judging on the time course in China, it will last two to four months, and then pass.
(2) Zhang XF, Liu ZG, Shen W, Gurunathan S. Silver Nanoparticles: Synthesis, Characterization, Properties, Applications, and Therapeutic Approaches. Int J Mol Sci. 2016;17(9):1534. Published 2016 Sep 13. doi:10.3390/ijms17091534