- Exactly what is a virus, and how does it infect you?
- How does your immune system defend against viruses?
- How does your body know how to respond?
- What is interferon; what does it do; and what harm can it cause?
- How can you boost your immune system to prepare for the coronavirus?
- How to use an antipathogenic formula to support your body when you eventually come down with the virus.
How many times do you need to hear that you have to wash your hands, stay at home, and practice social distancing to defend against COVID-19? In fact, for a quick update, you can go back to the two newsletters I wrote last month.
- COVID-19: There’s No Need for Panic (3/12/20)
- More than Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the New Coronavirus (2/27/20)
They still stand as accurate predictors of where we are today, with two small corrections.
- At the time, I said that the mortality rate would likely settle in at around 0.7%. As it turns out, we’re not there yet. In fact, the “official” mortality rate varies widely by country and is higher than I projected. In countries with at least 1,000 deaths, the mortality rate is as low is 2.1% in Turkey and 2.5% in Germany. But it’s as high as 12.8% in Belgium and Italy. The US mortality rate is 4.1%, and the global average is disturbingly high at 6%. But keep in mind, the official number may not be an accurate number. It’s calculated by setting the number of deaths against the number of tested and confirmed cases. For example, if 100 people are confirmed as having the virus and 5 of them eventually die, that’s a 5% mortality rate.
- But that doesn’t factor in all those people who never had any symptoms, mild symptoms, or flu-like symptoms they dealt with at home and so were never tested for the virus—and are thus not part of the official statistics. Considering that fewer than 1% of people have been tested in the U.S., the actual number of people who have had the virus could easily be four or five times higher than the official number, or more. Going back to our example, that would mean 5 deaths out 500 people who actually were infected VS the 100 who were officially tested. And that would mean a mortality rate of just 1%. But keep in mind that since the virus is brand new to the world, unlike the flu, no one anywhere on the planet has any immunity to it. Social distancing doesn’t change that. Ultimately, everyone in the world is potentially susceptible—and will remain so no matter how long they self-quarantine at home. That said, a low mortality rate applied to a large number of people is still a large number of deaths—eventually.
- Back then I also mentioned that there was the possibility that warmer summer months might slow the virus’s progression, as it does with most flu viruses. That’s probably not true. Accumulating evidence indicates that COVID-19 is unaffected by seasonal temperature changes. What is slowing it down, however, is the worldwide lockdown. But as I mentioned, at the time, a general lockdown without sufficient testing may slow the virus, but it still leaves massive numbers of people susceptible to infection the moment they end their self-enforced quarantine. Then again, brand new evidence indicates that I might have been right in the first place as the most recent government lab experiments (not yet validated) show that the coronavirus does not survive long in high temperatures and high humidity, and is quickly destroyed by sunlight.1 Jana Winter and Sharon Weinberger. “Sunlight destroys virus quickly, new govt. tests find, but experts say pandemic could last through summer.” Yahoo News April 17, 2020. (Accessed 17 April 2020.) https://www.yahoo.com/news/sunlight-destroys-coronavirus-very-quickly-new-government-tests-find-but-experts-say-pandemic-could-still-last-through-summer-200745675.html
Anyway, as I said, who needs to hear yet again that they need to wash their hands, stay at home, and practice social distancing? So, in this newsletter, I want to do something different. It occurred to me that it might be extremely informative to focus on viruses in general–what they are, how they work, how they spread, and how your immune system defends against them–and not get bogged down in technical details about the immune system while doing it. And that is so easy to do since the immune system is so intricate in construct and intelligent in design and execution. (For those of you looking for a more detailed examination of the immune system, check out my four part series: Anatomy and Physiology of the Immune System.)
With our objective in mind, let’s begin by looking at…
What Is a Virus and How Does It Infect?
Viral infections can occur anywhere in your body, but since COVID-19 is essentially a respiratory infection, let’s focus our attention there.
The respiratory tract is constantly exposed to the external environment and is therefore highly vulnerable to assault from pathogens. It, therefore, must be equipped to respond to and eliminate any invading viruses. Not an easy task. Clearing any viruses from the lungs and resolving all infections requires a complex, multi-faceted response initiated by:
- The cells that line your respiratory tract (epithelial cells).
- Your innate immune system. This includes the nonspecific defense mechanisms that come into play immediately or within hours of an antigen’s appearance in the body. These mechanisms include physical barriers such as skin, chemicals in the blood, and immune system cells that attack foreign cells in the body.
- And ultimately, by the cells of your adaptive immune system. Adaptive immunity refers to pathogen specific immune responses. The adaptive immune response is more complex than the innate. The antigen/pathogen first must be processed and recognized. Once an antigen has been recognized, the adaptive immune system creates an army of antibodies and immune cells specifically designed to attack that antigen. Adaptive immunity also includes a “memory” that makes future responses against a specific antigen more efficient.
It should be noted that although an effective immune response to eliminate viral pathogens is essential, a prolonged or exaggerated response can create prolonged inflammation and damage the respiratory tract. Damage to your pulmonary system caused by a prolonged immune response, which can be particularly problematic, is manifested clinically in a variety of ways depending on the location and extent of the injury. Thus, the antiviral immune response represents a balancing act between the elimination of any invading virus and any immune-mediated pulmonary injury.
So, what exactly is a virus?
A virus is an infectious agent comprised of RNA or DNA molecules that can only replicate inside a host organism (you, for example). They can infect a variety of living organisms, including bacteria, plants, and animals. When a virus particle is independent from its host, it consists of a viral genome comprised of a minimal number of RNA or DNA molecules surrounded by a protein shell called a capsid. In this form, it is known as a virion.
Viruses infect a human host by first gaining access to the body through the mouth, nose, or eyes; then using the bloodstream to travel around the body looking for ideal host cells. For COVID-19, and any other respiratory viruses, that usually means a cell inside the lungs. (Note: respiratory viruses can initially infect lung cells through direct contact when inhaled.) Once the virus finds what it’s looking for, it attaches to the chosen host cell using protein keys on its surface to open protein locks on the cell’s surface, allowing it to penetrate the cell wall and enter the cell. Once inside, it uncoats its genome from its protein shell and releases its genome into the host cell. Once freed inside the host cell, the viral genome hijacks the cell’s machinery, forcing it to replicate the viral genome and produce viral proteins to make new capsids. Next, the viral particles are assembled into new viruses. The new viruses/virions burst out of the host cell during a process called lysis, which kills the host cell.
- Note: COVID-19 appears to have a preference for two specific types of lung cells: goblet cells and ciliated cells. Goblet cells produce the mucus that both keeps your lungs moist and also captures particles, bacteria, and even viruses that you might inhale. Ciliated cells, on the other hand, have little hairs on them that move in a wavelike manner pushing the mucus (and anything it captured) up and out of the lungs into the back of the throat, where you can cough it out.
Following viral replication, the new virions can then either go on to exponentially infect and kill ever more cells in the host and/or escape the host and go on to infect new hosts. Note: although they act in every way like a thinking, purpose driven, parasitic lifeform, viruses are technically not alive as they lack essential systems necessary for metabolic functions that currently define life as we know it.
How a Virus Harms You
At this point, it’s probably worth explaining how COVID-19, or even the flu, makes you sick, sends you to the hospital, and may ultimately kill you. The first thing to understand is the virus itself is rarely responsible for directly killing you. A virus is not like cobra venom that is specifically designed to kill you–and does so. What harms you with a virus are the side effects as it simply goes about its business of replicating itself, coupled with your immune system’s response to that assault. In a sense, your health and life are simply collateral damage.
- When the virus is traveling through your bloodstream, it isn’t harming anything. It’s not until the virus takes over a cell in order to replicate itself and then bursts that cell to release its virion offspring that things start to happen.
- In the beginning, when there are just a few cells bursting and dying, the initial problem is inflammation. With COVID-19, since it’s primarily a respiratory disease, that means inflammation of your lung tissue. That can be felt as the “heaviness in the lungs” that people have described in the early stages of infection.
- In addition to lung tissue, there is strong evidence that COVID-19 is also comfortable invading both the liver and kidneys, where it can cause serious problems, including organ failure. Also, although the evidence is more preliminary, it looks like COVID-19 may also attack the heart muscle. One March 25 study from China published in JAMA Cardiology involving 416 patients sick enough to be hospitalized found that 20 percent had signs of heart damage.2 Guo T, Fan Y, Chen M, et al. “Cardiovascular Implications of Fatal Outcomes of Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 27]. JAMA Cardiol. 2020;e201017. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2763845 And of course, it can attack parts of the nervous system as evidenced by the loss of taste and smell in some patients.
- When the cells burst, and also as your immune system begins to respond by attacking viruses in the lungs, you end up with a lot of detritus from the exploded cells and destroyed immune cells, which your lungs try to wash away by creating more mucous and fluids. This leads to the shortness of breath people have described.
- As the virus continues to replicate exponentially, the number of dead cells, detritus, and bodily fluids created also increases exponentially making breathing much more difficult. This sends you to the hospital with the early stages of ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome).
- At this point, the stress on your immune system and the damage to your lungs makes you extremely vulnerable to secondary infections such as pneumonia, further exacerbating your situation. Pneumonia in a weakened body often leads to the pulmonary system damage we describe earlier or to ARDS.
- And finally, if your immune system can’t quickly shut down the virus it can get stuck in high assault mode, unable to turn itself off. This leads to the dreaded cytokine storm in which your own immune system inflicts huge damage on your lung tissue and sends you into critical ARDS and ultimately kills you.
- Note: For those who survive ARDS, a decreased quality of life is common.
And that, in very simplified terms, is how the virus impacts your body. By the way, it’s probably worth mentioning that if you have two viruses at the same time (COVID-19 and the Flu, for example) they can easily swap genetic material and create an entirely new virus, which potentially could be far worse than COVID-19, and for which, once again, no one has immunity.
How Your Immune System Defends Against Viruses
From the description above, you should now understand that your immune system needs to attack and defend viruses in two separate locations.
- The first line of defense is the bloodstream before the virions have found a host cell. (Again: for many respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, the initial infection can bypass the bloodstream. Simply inhaling the virus from somebody else’s sneeze droplets, for example, can place a virus particle directly on a vulnerable lung cell–allowing it direct access into that cell. However, after the initial infection, as we will see, most virus particles have to travel through the bloodstream to reach the next round of lung cells for further infection–although some are released directly back into the lungs where they can escape the body in water droplets when sneezing or coughing and infect others. By the way, social distancing currently specifies six feet, but studies have shown that airborne particles from sneezes and coughs can travel upwards of 30 feet.3 Bourouiba L. “Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions: Potential Implications for Reducing Transmission of COVID-19.” [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 26]. JAMA. 2020;10.1001/jama.2020.4756. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763852 Nevertheless, there have been a handful of studies that have shown that 6 feet of social distancing is enough to significantly slow the spread of a virus.4 Ahmed F, Zviedrite N, Uzicanin A. “Effectiveness of workplace social distancing measures in reducing influenza transmission: a systematic review.” BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1):518. Published 2018 Apr 18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5907354/
- I use the term bloodstream metaphorically here. Macrophages can be found throughout the body especially in the lungs, liver, spleen, and lymph nodes, where their function is to free the airways, blood, and lymph of viruses, bacteria, and other particles. Macrophages also are found in all tissues as wandering amoeboid cells, The monocyte, a precursor of the macrophage, is the phagocyte that is literally found in the bloodstream.
- The second line of defense involves identifying any cells in your body that have been taken over by the virus and then eliminating them before they can spew their viral contents into the bloodstream. And for respiratory viruses, we’re obviously talking about lung cells here.
- If you don’t do both, the viral infection remains.
In your bloodstream, your immune system is capable of attacking the invading virus with both blind firepower (your innate immune system) and with targeted intelligent sharpshooters (your adaptive immune system).
The blind firepower consists primarily of the phagocytes (macrophages, monocytes, neutrophils, granulocytes, and dendritic cells) which attack and destroy or capture anything they sense as new or foreign. Although highly effective, they can be easily overwhelmed if the number of invaders is large, as happens once a virus begins exponentially replicating inside your body’s cells. One extremely powerful part of your adaptive defense that may be able to kick in simultaneously with your innate defense in the bloodstream can be found in the action of the antibodies–if the virus is one they are already programmed to attack. Antibodies are blood proteins (immunoglobulin) produced in response to a specific antigen such as COVID-19 and specifically designed to counteract that one particular antigen. So, where do antibodies come from and how do they work?
When your immune system encounters a foreign molecule (typically a protein) for the first time, the macrophages and dendritic cells that we’ve already talked about capture the molecule and begin breaking it down so that they can present these antigens (foreign substances) to B cell lymphocytes.
Once the B cell has locked onto the antigen, it begins coding for a new antibody that will contain a unique Antigen Binding Site capable of binding specifically to a vulnerable point (an epitope) on that particular antigen. Each B cell lymphocyte produces one unique antibody against one unique epitope on one specific antigen.
Once antibodies with sufficient specificity to the invader’s epitope can be encoded, the B cell begins to release antibodies into the bloodstream. These antibodies then bind with the specific foreign molecule found on the virus at its point of vulnerability (the epitope), marking the virus as an invader so that white blood cells canengulf and destroy it. After the foreign molecule has been eliminated, B cells remain in the bloodstream ready to quickly produce antibodies (bypassing the learning process) if the antigen is encountered again. But there is a catch. If you are encountering an antigen for the first time (can you say COVID-19), it can take your immune system anywhere from 9-14 days to analyze the invader and make an antibody blueprint and begin releasing those antibodies back into the bloodstream. In other words, it’s crucial that your innate immune system (your phagocytes) is strong enough to survive those first two weeks until your body can begin deploying the hordes of antibody sharpshooters that can ultimately clear the virus from your bloodstream. And it is here that natural immune boosters can come into play. If you are taking them regularly before a virus hits, your first line of defense will be at its maximum when needed and will likely carry you through those first 14 days. If you wait to take an immune booster until after you already have symptoms, it’s too late for immune booster to offer more than marginal help.
The Adaptive Immune System
Antibodies are an example of the adaptive immune system at work in the bloodstream. Your immune system has to study the invader and learn about its vulnerabilities before it can adapt your antibodies to defend against it. Once your system has identified an invader, it quickly develops a customized series of defensive weapons that specifically target the invader’s weak link. It then begins building cellular factories that produce these weapons en masse, in quantities sufficient to totally overwhelm and crush the invader. Then, once the invader has been defeated, the immune system has the awareness to “shut itself down” until needed at a later date. Also, your immune system has the ability to “remember” that invader and the defense that was used to defeat it. If that invader ever makes another appearance, even years later, your immune system can launch its defense much more quickly — and at a level 1,000 times stronger than when the invader first appeared.
Cytotoxic NK (natural killer) T-cells
As with the bloodstream, so with infected cells.
Now we’re going to look at how the adaptive immune system works to kill viruses that have set up camp inside your own cells–beyond the reach of phagocytes and antibodies. Simple logic says that only the adaptive immune system can do this since it requires that the immune system learn how to differentiate between a normal healthy cell and a cell that has been invaded by a particular virus so that it can adapt itself to target only the infected cells and not healthy cells.
As with antibodies, if your immune system has already been trained to recognize the virus that has invaded your cells, it kicks in with its strongest response, your T-cell defense, which is so strong that, if it has seen the virus before, it can often destroy the invader before you ever even know it’s there–or at worst, keeps the symptoms very mild and the sickness very short. It should be noted that we don’t store a lot of trained T-cells, just a few of each kind. Storage areas include the spleen, liver, and Peyer’s patches in the intestinal tract. The T-cells wait there, looking to see if they recognize the particular protein geometry of an invader they have been trained to identify (we’ll talk about how they do that in a moment) and then react to it. If so, they quickly set up factories in your body to produce replicas of themselves by the millions. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, no person on the planet has ever seen it before, so this line of defense is not available to most people. Instead, as with antibodies, your immune system needs to go through a learning, training, and adapting process.
The heart of this defense are the Cytotoxic NK (natural killer) T-cells, also known as Killer CD8+ T-cells. These are mainly T8 cells that have been activated by T4 cells and “transformed” into killer T-cells.
T4 cells have receptors on their surface that allow them to both identify the invading threat and then hunt down T8 cells to transform them into killers to crush the invader they’ve identified (in this case, the COVID-19 infected cells).
Once activated/transformed by a T4 cell, the T8 cell undergoes further growth and differentiation when stimulated by interleukin-2 released by the same T4 cell that locked onto it in the first place and activated it. This exponentially increases the number of NK cells programmed to identify a target antigen located on the surface of infected cells and then travel throughout the body in search of antigen-positive cells to destroy. This provides a failsafe two-step co-stimulation process for your immune system–that is stimulation by both direct contact with the T4 cell and stimulation by the interleukin-2 released by the T4 cell. This two-step process helps prevent the immune system from misfiring and attacking healthy cells in the body. Note: the exact same identify and destroy mechanism is used by NK T-cells to destroy both virus infected cells and cancer cells. I mention this because the following video shows a natural killer cell destroying a tumor cell. The way it does it is exactly the same as when identifying and destroying a COVID-19 infected lung cell.
How Your Body Knows to Respond
Pretty much every cell in the body can detect invading pathogens through what’s known as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). These receptors can recognize the difference in molecular patterns found on the surface of invaders but are not found in the body’s own cells other than when cancer is present. This ability to recognize “non-self” and activate is, obviously, especially important in the epithelial cells that line the inside of the lungs when it comes to alerting the immune system to respond to the infection and limit the coronavirus from spreading.
The key here is that activation of PRRs triggers the production and release of interferons, cytokines, chemokines, and antimicrobial peptides which initiate your body’s innate and adaptive immune response–calling all of your defenses to rush to the site of infection. The overall response of your defenses against COVID-19, for example, as well as their ability to rush to your lungs, are determined by two things:
- The degree of PRR activation throughout the respiratory tract–in other words, how strong is the call to action for your immune system.
- The “readiness” of your immune system to respond, which ultimately determines the strength of its response. In other words, a strong call to a strong immune system elicits a strong response, whereas a weak call to a weak system or a strong call to a weak system sends you to the hospital.
Before moving on, it’s worth spending a little time talking about interferon, which, as we mentioned above, is released by your cells at the site of infection. Interferons are categorized as cytokines, small proteins that are involved in intercellular signaling. Interferon is secreted by cells in response to stimulation by a virus or other foreign substance. It should be noted that interferon does not directly inhibit the ability of a virus to multiply but, rather, stimulates the infected cells and those nearby to produce proteins that prevent the virus from replicating within them. This inhibits any further production of the virus and, thus, stops the infection. Interferons also have immunoregulatory functions such as inhibiting B-cell activation, enhancing T-cell activity, and increasing the cell-destruction capability of natural killer cells. Typically, a virus-infected cell releases interferons–against the “wishes” of the virus–causing nearby cells to increase their anti-viral defenses.
When taken as a whole, what interferon does in the presence of viruses is pretty marvelous. The release of interferon actually has multiple impacts on your immune response.
- As already discussed, it draws your immune defenses to the site of infection.
- The release of interferon can cause hundreds of interferon stimulated genes, which primarily serve to limit further virus spread and infection, to activate.
- Interferon can also directly stimulate phagocytosis and dendritic cell maturation.
- It stimulates the production of chemokines and cytokines by respiratory cells. In other words, the release of interferon stimulates the production of more interferon, which further increases your immune system’s response, which releases more interferon…etc. And of course, if this process fails to trigger its own shut off–which it normally does–that’s what’s known as a cytokine storm, in which the immune system goes out of control and starts destroying lung tissue in a self-annihilating frenzy.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There isn’t time to cover everything that interferon does such as inhibiting viruses from entering cells and replicating. It also directly inhibits the transcribing and translating of viral DNA inside your body’s cells.5 de Weerd NA, Samarajiwa SA, Hertzog PJ. “Type I interferon receptors: biochemistry and biological functions.” J Biol Chem. 2007;282(28):20053–20057. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17502368/ And that should give you a hint as to how involved, intricate, and multifaceted interferon is.
Boosting your immune system
For all the reasons we’ve mentioned above, having a strong immune system is one of your best defenses against viruses like COVID-19 and the flu. And scientists have known for years that it is possible to improve the functioning of both your innate and adaptive immune system. The conventional medical approach has been to use expensive, proprietary drugs, including concentrated cytokines such as interleukin and interferon. Unfortunately, that lacks the subtlety and second-by-second regulation of your body’s own interferon production, which can lead to serious side effects. Alternative healers, on the other hand, have adopted a more nuanced approach using natural substances to:
- Stimulate and strengthen the immune system.
- Fight infection.
- Strengthen tissue against assault by invading microorganisms.
- Stimulate macrophage capability.
- Increase T-cell production and protect helper T-cells.
- Complement the action of your body’s own interferon and interleukin-1.
- Promote increased production of cytokines as called for by your body.
- Assist the cell-mediated immune response.
Note that what we’re talking about here goes beyond eating healthy and taking extra vitamin A, D, and C. Doing those things will optimize the “normal” state of your immune system. But “boosting your immune system” is something more than that. We’re talking about pushing your immune system into a heightened state of readiness, a state beyond normal. Think of it like running shoes. You can train for months and push your body to a maximum state of fitness, but if all you wear when you run, no matter how fit you are, is everyday sneakers, you’re only going to be able to run so fast. But wear some of the new, hi-tech running shoes, and you can push beyond the limits of what we think is humanly possible.6 Delia Paunescu. “Nike’s high-tech Vaporfly sneakers help athletes run 4 percent faster. Should they be banned for providing an unfair advantage?” Vox. Nov 3, 2019. (Accessed 13 Apr 2020.) https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/11/3/20944257 That’s what immune boosters can do for your immune system.
Ingredients to look for in an immune boosting formula include Echinacea, Pau d’arco, astragalus root, Suma root, and various mushrooms such as cordyceps. A bottle a month per person is all you need for this formula to provide optimum support for your immune system. There are three keys to using it.
- You need to use it before you are infected. Immune boosters don’t kill a virus once you have it. Instead, they help prepare your body in advance to better fight an invading virus if and when you are infected by one. Ideally, you want to be using an immune booster for at least a week before confronting an infection.
- Three 1 mL droppers per day is all you need. That means a 60 mL bottle will last 20 days, which provides a full month of immune system support as you will see in a moment..
- Since one of the primary modes of action of immune boosters is to trick your immune system into thinking it’s under attack so it heightens its defenses, you need to give your body a break from immune boosters every month. The problem is that after about 20-25 days your immune system begins to figure out that there really is no invader and begins to lessen its response to the immune booster. In other words, it begins to lose effect. But if you take five-10 days off every month, your immune system can be tricked into starting the cycle all over again. And don’t worry about taking the five-10 days off. It’s not like your immune system suddenly drops off a cliff when you stop taking the booster. The tail off is gradual–in fact, almost non-existent during the days you’re not using the booster.
Using an Antipathogen Formula
One day in early March, Kristen and I both noticed the same symptoms. They were not severe, but they were enough so that we both commented on them.
- In the mid-afternoon, we were suddenly unusually tired.
- We both had low level muscle aches.
- And we both felt something “off” in the lungs and sinus cavities.
As I said, the symptoms were not severe. And if it weren’t for the virus being on our minds, we probably would have shrugged it off as the result of working too many hours several days in a row. In any case, we decided not to ignore it and each down a bottle of my antipathogen formula, as follows:
- We had approximately a third of a bottle (20mL) at a time–just eyeballing it as we poured it into a glass. We then added a couple of ounces of low-salt tomato juice, and a couple of ounces of water.
- Mixed it up and sipped it down over about five minutes.
- Repeated that two more times spaced throughout the rest of the day so that we ended up consuming the entire 2 oz bottle that day.
What we noticed was that within about 20 minutes of sipping down each glass, all symptoms disappeared, only to return in milder form before the next glass. After the third glass, we went to bed and woke up the next morning feeling fine. No symptoms of any kind. At that point, we passed off the previous day’s symptoms as just being tired and that we hadn’t had the virus. By the way, one of the advantages of having formulated the product is that I know why it makes sense to always have a good supply on hand for whenever we need it.
About three days later, the symptoms came back, but noticeably stronger than before, including a strong feverish feeling (although when we checked our temperatures, we both were 1 degree below normal). In any case, there was no question, whatever this was, it was very different than any cold or flu we had ever experienced (keeping in mind I’ve only had the flu once in the last seven years). At this point, we were pretty sure it was COVID-19. If I were to guess what had happened, we had destroyed most of the virus in our bloodstream but hadn’t touched the viral factories in our cells. When the infected cells burst open over the next several days and the virions poured out in greater numbers than before, the symptoms returned stronger than ever. We weren’t worried at all since we knew that the formula had worked the first time we took it; we just hadn’t taken it long enough. In any case, we knew it was now time to take whatever we had seriously.
- We then repeated the bottle a day routine for the next four days (three days probably would have been enough, but what the heck, better safe than sorry). Oh, and since we were out of tomato juice, we used diluted orange juice, which also tastes just fine with all the garlic in the formula. (And from past experience, we know that apricot juice and peach juice are also winners.)
- All symptoms were gone by the third day. Again, the fourth bottle was just to let the virus know who was boss.
- Then for the next six days (days 5-10), we finished off a fifth bottle doing 10 droppers a day in diluted juice just to make sure we covered the virions released by any surviving cell factories before they could infect any new cells. By itself, this may have eliminated the virus. And if not, it bought us the time for our adaptive immune system to learn all about the virus and take over with both antibodies in the bloodstream and NK cells to find and destroy any remaining infected cells as needed.
- Based on this description, it should be obvious that trying to save money or stretch the formula or share the same bottles among several people is counterproductive. Using just one or two bottles and stopping may make the symptoms go away briefly, but it allows the virus to come back as soon as any infected cells burst. In that sense, it’s like using antibiotics. Your symptoms may go away after a couple of days, but if you don’t complete the full program as prescribed by your doctor, the infection will simply return in a few days–more aggressive than ever.
- Anyway, since completing our five bottle, 10-day program, the symptoms have not returned.
Now Please Keep the Following Caveats in Mind
- This is our personal, real-life experience with the formula and may not reflect the experiences of anyone else who uses it. And yes, I realize that personal anecdotal experience is not the best way to evaluate efficacy–without substantial corroboration.
- Let me be clear that I believe both Kristen and I had the COVID-19 virus. But thanks to the dearth of available testing, we couldn’t verify infection at the time. So, it’s possible we may never have had COVID-19 in the first place. But again, the symptoms, although relatively minor, were unlike anything we’d ever experienced before. And we both had the same symptoms. Bottom line: we’re pretty sure we had the virus. Nevertheless, we won’t know for sure until the long-promised antibody tests arrive. They will tell us if we have antibodies to COVID-19 in our bloodstream, which we could only have if we’ve had the virus.
- Also, let me be clear. We’re not saying that the formula cured anything. It didn’t have to. All we’re saying is that the all-natural ingredients in the formula supported our innate immune system’s efforts in holding down the viral load until the stronger and more targeted adaptive immune system could take over and eliminate the virus.
- And finally, we cannot be sure the formula actually did anything at all? Many people who have the virus have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms. Perhaps my formula had no effect, and the virus simply followed its normal course in our bodies. Who is to say? My answer to that would be:
- There are eight ingredients in the formula that have each independently demonstrated strong antiviral activity in studies.
- It would be a remarkable coincidence if the course of the virus “naturally” followed the absolutely identical timeline in disappearing from both our bodies without some outside influence affecting the outcome.
- It also should be noted that Kristen and I both have over two decades of experience with this formula when it comes to dealing with colds and flu–both preventing them from going beyond the incubation phase and cutting their normal cycle in half on those rare occasions when we’ve actually come down with anything.
- Over the years, we’ve received hundreds of testimonials from people who have used the formula to similar effect. And yes, they too could have been mistaken, but as the numbers add up, that looks less and less likely.
- And finally, if the CDC would like to test the formula, we’d be happy to send them samples. They could start with in vitro testing to see if the formula can kill the COVID-19 virus in a lab. There are any number of assay tests that could verify efficacy inexpensively in a matter of hours.7 “In Vitro Antiviral Testing.” IBT BioServices. (Accessed 10 April 2020.) https://www.ibtbioservices.com/bioservices/antiviral-testing/ If it passed muster in the lab, considering the current pandemic environment, in vivo testing could then be quickly instituted and results verified.
By the way, this brings up a festering problem. Once you’ve had the virus and are no longer in danger of catching it or communicating it to others, how do you once again emerge in public without having to wear a mask or terrify any who accidentally enters your six-foot safety zone.
- The Federal Government is considering issuing Americans certificates of immunity from the coronavirus that they can carry in their wallets to show to anyone who needs to see it. That presents several problems. First, think how many times a day you’d have to show it if you were back to work and out and about. But more importantly, if you now went maskless when shopping in a story because you legally could, how would anyone else in the store know that you were legal and safe and not just thoughtless and putting everyone else at risk. It could lead to many unpleasant confrontations, with some being violent.
- Of course, in China they’re beginning to require citizens to use software on their smartphones that dictates whether they should be quarantined or allowed into subways, malls, and other public spaces. More disturbingly, it also uses geo-tracking to monitor every move you make and every single person you interface with (through their phones) as you go about your day. And then all the people they interface with, etc.–ultimately tracking the lives of every single person in the country who owns a cell phone.Again, the software still requires you to pull out your phone countless times a day to identify yourself to others. And you still could be subject to confrontations from people who didn’t know your status. But the software would always be tracking your movements whether you pulled the phone out or not. Look, I know many of you out there are concerned about the idea of forced vaccination for COVID-19 when a vaccine is finally approved–and you should be since I consider that to be a likely eventuality down the road–much like smallpox and polio vaccinations. But, and let me be perfectly clear about this, I consider the danger from forced vaccination to be far less than the potential danger from tracking software installed on everyone’s phones. Look, if used as promised, there should be no problem, and it will undoubtedly save lives. But that said, when have governments ever limited their “oversight” of their citizenry to the “promised” boundaries? Just sayin.
So, with that in mind, Kristen and I had the following T-shirt made for ourselves. We’re just waiting for the antibody test to confirm our status as COVID-19 survivors so we can wear them. Feel free to make up your own. Or for that matter, any T-shirt company should feel free to run them off by the thousands and sell them to as many people as possible. We put the TM on the shirt merely to prevent anyone else from trying to claim a trademark and preventing anyone else from making the shirts. Anyway, if you see any of the shirts appearing in the months ahead, you’ll know where it all started.
|↑1||Jana Winter and Sharon Weinberger. “Sunlight destroys virus quickly, new govt. tests find, but experts say pandemic could last through summer.” Yahoo News April 17, 2020. (Accessed 17 April 2020.) https://www.yahoo.com/news/sunlight-destroys-coronavirus-very-quickly-new-government-tests-find-but-experts-say-pandemic-could-still-last-through-summer-200745675.html|
|↑2||Guo T, Fan Y, Chen M, et al. “Cardiovascular Implications of Fatal Outcomes of Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 27]. JAMA Cardiol. 2020;e201017. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2763845|
|↑3||Bourouiba L. “Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions: Potential Implications for Reducing Transmission of COVID-19.” [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 26]. JAMA. 2020;10.1001/jama.2020.4756. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763852|
|↑4||Ahmed F, Zviedrite N, Uzicanin A. “Effectiveness of workplace social distancing measures in reducing influenza transmission: a systematic review.” BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1):518. Published 2018 Apr 18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5907354/|
|↑5||de Weerd NA, Samarajiwa SA, Hertzog PJ. “Type I interferon receptors: biochemistry and biological functions.” J Biol Chem. 2007;282(28):20053–20057. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17502368/|
|↑6||Delia Paunescu. “Nike’s high-tech Vaporfly sneakers help athletes run 4 percent faster. Should they be banned for providing an unfair advantage?” Vox. Nov 3, 2019. (Accessed 13 Apr 2020.) https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/11/3/20944257|
|↑7||“In Vitro Antiviral Testing.” IBT BioServices. (Accessed 10 April 2020.) https://www.ibtbioservices.com/bioservices/antiviral-testing/|