Dr John Ioannidis is Stanford University’s Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Population Health, and (by courtesy) of Biomedical Data Science, and of Statistics; co-Director, Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS).
His research findings on the Coronavirus-19 pandemic to date demonstrate that the infection fatality rate for this virus is about the same as for seasonal flu.
“We realized that the number of infected people is somewhere between 50 and 85 times more, compared to what we thought… compared to what had been documented. Immediately, that means that the infection fatality rate… the probability of dying if you are infected [with coronavirus] diminishes by 50 to 85 fold because the denominator in the calculation becomes 50 to 85 fold bigger. If you take these numbers into account, they suggest that the infection fatality rate for this new coronavirus is likely to be in the same ballpark as seasonal influenza. Of course, there is still a little bit of uncertainty about the exact number, but it’s clearly very different compared to the original thoughts or speculation or preliminary data that suggested a much much higher infection fatality rate.” (Ioannidis, 4/20/2020)
In this April 20 2020 video, Dr Ioannidis discusses the results of his three preliminary studies, including his latest that shows a drastically reduced infection fatality rate. In the video, he also talks about the worrisome effects of the lock down, Sweden’s approach to the pandemic, data from Italy, the ups and downs of testing and the feasibility of ‘contact tracing’.
If you’re interested and have a lot of time on your hands, you can also watch the previous interviews with Dr Ioannidis presenting his Perspectives on the Pandemic:
Dr Shiva Ayyadurai holds four degrees from MIT, including a PhD in Biological Engineering specializing in Systems Biology. His doctoral thesis focused on modeling the whole cell by integrating molecular pathway models. In 2007, he was awarded a Fulbright US Student Program grant to study the integration of Siddha, a system of traditional medicine developed in South India, with modern systems biology.
Dr Ayyadurai founded CytoSolve, Inc. in 2011 to fulfill his life long mission to promote human health and well being by developing medicines and protocols, and integrating ancient and modern science with Eastern and Western traditional medicine.
“CytoSolve provides the world’s first computational systems biology platform for scalable integration of molecular pathway models to enable predictive and quantitative understanding of complex biomolecular processes and diseases to determine risk, toxicity, and efficacy UPFRONT in the product development process. CytoSolve’s technology platform is enabling innovative and visionary manufacturers to develop and deliver products to end-consumers that truly advance health and well-being, faster, cheaper, and safer.” (CytoSolve, Inc, 2011-2020)
THE HUMAN IMMUNE SYSTEM
In the video below , Dr Ayyadurai presents a fuller and updated explanation of the parts of the immune system and how they work in concert to protect us from illness, including the Coronavirus-19.
These parts include the Innate Immune System, the Interferon System, the Gut Microbiome, the Neural System and the Adaptive Immune System.
VACCINES, ANTIBODIES, CHRONIC LOW LEVEL INFLAMMATION AND AUTOIMMUNITY
In the video, Dr Ayyadurai also explains why vaccines are not a healthy solution for preventing diseases. Vaccines stimulate the production of antibodies for a particular disease but also short circuit the complex balance among the various parts of the total immune system. These artificially produced antibodies create a constant low-level inflammatory response in the body which, over time, creates autoimmune diseases and conditions.
This is important information on a down side of vaccines:
Unlike antibodies the body produces when you’ve had and recovered from a disease, vaccines artificially over stimulate the production of antibodies, creating a chronic low-level inflammatory response in the body, eventually causing autoimmune diseases and conditions.
CHRONIC INFLAMMATION IS THE ROOT OF MOST DISEASES
The following are excerpts from an article by Dr Josh Axe about how a leaky gut produces chronic inflammation in the body, eventually producing most of the diseases we get.
“As more Americans are affected by poor diet choices, chronic stress, toxic overload and bacterial imbalance, it appears that the prevalence of leaky gut has reached epidemic proportions. The medical profession is just now agreeing this condition may even exist, which is especially shocking to me because “intestinal permeability” (another name for leaky gut) has been discussed in the medical literature for over 100 years!
“Why should leaky gut syndrome concern you? Recently leaky gut has been called a “danger signal for autoimmune disease.” (1) If you’re wondering if you may be experiencing leaky gut, the first thing to do is access your symptoms. Keep in mind that it’s very common for people on a Standard American Diet to struggle with poor gut function and high levels of inflammation — but just because digestive issues and autoimmune conditions are common doesn’t make them “normal”! ….
“Here’s how a report published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology describes the pathology of leaky gut: (2)
The intestinal epithelial lining, together with factors secreted from it, forms a barrier that separates the host from the environment. In pathologic conditions, the permeability of the epithelial lining may be compromised allowing the passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria in the lumen to enter the bloodstream creating a ‘leaky gut.’
“When you have leaky gut, certain tiny particles that should never be able to enter your bloodstream start to make their way through. There’s also commonly abnormalities in the gut stemming from antimicrobial molecules, immunoglobulins and cytokine activities. This presents a major problem, as the vast majority of your immune system is found inside the gut.
“The result? A disruption of acute inflammation, and sometimes autoimmune reactions. A normal part of your immune response that serves to fight infections and diseases winds up over-performing, leading to chronic inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases.”
The informative article below, by holistic doctor Drew Sinatra, appeared in my inbox this afternoon. It explains in plain English the important role probiotics play in keeping us well – especially useful information in this time of Coronavirus-19.
Dr. Drew Sinatra is a well-respected, board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and self-described “health detective” with a passion for promoting natural healing, wellness and improving quality of life by addressing the root cause of illness in patients of all ages. His practice focuses on treating the whole person (mind, body and spirit) and finding missed connections between symptoms and health issues that are often overlooked by conventional medicine.
When patients see me in my practice they often leave with a “prescription” to take probiotics. But to get the full benefits of probiotics you need to take the right ones in the right amount. Before I get to that, I want to explain what probiotics are and how they work.
Why You Need Probiotics
Probiotics are strains of bacteria that support your health. The term probiotic literally means “pro” for in support of and “biotic” pertaining to living organisms.
While there are many strains of probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most common strains you may see on food and supplement labels. These strains of bacteria improve digestion and help with the absorption of nutrients. They also help to modulate immune system function, reduce inflammation in the intestines, and even reduce symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Research has also shown that certain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics support the cardiovascular system by regulating the production and breakdown of cholesterol particles, as well as supporting healthy blood pressure and circulation.
Fermented Foods Give You the Benefits of Probiotics
Many cultures around the world prepare and eat fermented foods rich in probiotics, including:
And other dairy products.
In fact, kombucha, which contains several strains of probiotics, is becoming a popular drink.
But in the United States, we use pasteurization processes to kill pathogens or “bad bugs.” Although pasteurization is a necessary treatment for many of our foods and beverages since it destroys pathogenic organisms, it also destroys much needed probiotics. Unfortunately this means that most store bought fermented foods, including yogurt, contain few probiotics—unless they’re added back in after pasteurization.
The best way to get probiotic rich fermented foods is to make them in your own kitchen, just as your grandmother did. One of my favorite books on how to make fermented foods is called Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.
There are also other foods that you can eat besides fermented foods that can positively affect your gut flora. A recent study from the British Medical Journal showed that increasing dietary fiber can increase the amount of Akkermansia muciniphila probiotics in the gut. These probiotics are associated with favorable cholesterol, a better waist-to-hip ratio, and reduced cardiovascular risk factors.
Other studies have also shown that that the bacteria in our gut can affect the way we store fat and balance blood sugar levels. So, getting enough probiotics in our diet—and through supplements—is critical to good health. Plus, you want to eat fiber with your probiotics, since non-digestible fiber compounds act as prebiotics, providing fuel for the probiotics.
If You Eat Fermented Foods Do You Still Need Probiotics?
If I had to answer this question 30 years ago I probably would have said “no.” Today, however, my answer is “yes” since the soil has become increasingly sterile with the overuse of pesticides and herbicides, and getting a steady influx of probiotics into your gut is absolutely necessary.
One of the most troublesome herbicides in our environment is a chemical called glyphosate. Glyphosate was actually patented as an antibiotic, and the antibiotic mechanism not only kills off bacteria and fungus in the soil, it also reduces beneficial soil microorganisms.
To add insult to injury, antibiotics have been overused in both the livestock we eat—and in us humans—over the last 70 years. While antibiotics can be lifesaving, they affect the gut microbiota by reducing healthy bacterial strains. This can lead to an overgrowth of fungus (candida) and other pathogenic bacteria (clostridium difficile).
How Can You Find a Good Probiotic Supplement?
There are many probiotic formulas available that can help to replenish and support your gut bacteria.
When searching for a probiotic, you want to:
Search for one with clinical studies that show it works.
Look at the label to see how many colony forming units (CFU’s), or number of probiotics are packed in a formula. While the optimal dose remains unknown, it’s generally recognized in the medical community that formulas should contain at least 100 million CFU’s for proper colonization. But doses can be as high as hundreds of billions. And for formulas that list their strength in milligrams, you want to look for one that contains at least 350 mg of probiotics.
Some people find that when they first take probiotics they develop more gas and bloating. This is actually quite common, and is likely due to the subtle shift in gut microbiota and a change in your bowel pH (acidity). If this happens to you, you can reduce the dose for a few days and within two weeks the symptoms should resolve. Plus, some probiotics contain fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which act as prebiotics to help stimulate the growth of probiotics. These FOS’s can also cause abdominal discomfort in a small population of people.
Should You Take Your Probiotics With, Or Without, Food?
There’s actually a debate in the medical community about the best timing when it comes to probiotic supplementation. Some people believe probiotics should be taken on an empty stomach so stomach acids won’t degrade the probiotics. I’ve also read research that recommends taking probiotics slightly before or with meals as this leads to greater assimilation along the GI tract. Personally, I recommend taking a probiotic whenever it’s most convenient for you.
In addition to taking probiotics, it’s important to:
Avoid foods that will affect your gut bacteria. I tell all my patients to eat an organic diet as much as possible as doing so reduces your exposure to glyphosate and antibiotic residues in foods that affect gut flora.
Reduce sugar! I can’t emphasize this enough. Sugar in its many forms provides fuel for yeast species like candida in the gut which alters the gut flora and can set you up for a whole host of ailments.
Invest in a water filter to remove chlorine from your tap water. Chlorine is a disinfectant that reduces the spread of viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms. But it can also reduce the “good” bugs including healthy gut flora, so you want to make sure you are eliminating chlorine exposure with water filtration devices.
Herbs, garlic and other plants have been used since ancient times as natural treatments to protect against and heal many illness, including viral infections.
“Due to their concentration of potent plant compounds, many herbs help fight viruses and are favored by practitioners of natural medicine.
“At the same time, the benefits of some herbs are only supported by limited human research, so you should take them with a grain of salt.” (Kubala, 10/21/2019)
This post is for those of you who are curious about using some of these natural remedies and nutritional supplements as protection against the new coronavirus 19 and are looking for information on how they work and their effectiveness for this purpose.
The information I’m directing you to is an article called Natural Remedies and Supplements for Coronavirus (COVID-19) provided by Consumer Lab. (ConsumerLab.com, 3/15/2020)
“ConsumerLab.com, LLC (“CL”) is the leading provider of independent test results and information to help consumers and healthcare professionals identify the best quality health and nutrition products. It publishes results of its tests in comprehensive reports at www.consumerlab.com. CL also conducts an annual Survey of Vitamin & Supplement Users. CL’s research is cited frequently by the media, in books, and at professional meetings. In addition to the products it selects to review, CL enables companies of all sizes to have their products quality tested for potential inclusion in its list of Approved Quality products and bear the CL Seal. Since its founding in 1999, CL has tested more than 5,600 products, representing over 850 different brands and nearly every type of popular supplement for adults, children, and pets.” (ConsumerLab.com, 2020)
The member-submitted question ConsumerLab addresses in Natural Remedies and Supplements for Coronavirus (COVID-19) is: What are natural remedies for coronavirus (COVID-19)? Do supplements like zinc, vitamin C, or herbals work?
In this time of alternative facts and rampant misinformation, and with the media whipping up a panic about the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world, stock markets heading downhill and people panicking, here are some REAL facts to put this latest virus in perspective.
You can use this usefulinteractive web-based map to track cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world. The map is created by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. Data is gathered in real time from WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC, DXY and local media reports so you can check out the most up to date facts on it.
Here’s some data as of the time I’m writing this (Thursday
March 12 2020 at noon):
TOTAL CONFIRMED CASES WORLDWIDE: 127,873
TOTAL DEATHS WORLDWIDE: 4,718
TOTAL RECOVERED WORLDWIDE: 68,310
Half of the confirmed cases to date have recovered
Only 0.037% of the confirmed cases have died
EXPOSURE TO THE VIRUS IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE
Many people seem to believe they have to keep themselves and
their loved ones from getting EXPOSED to the virus – that exposure = getting it
= dying from it.
In fact, we’re exposed to nasty viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens every day and usually don’t become sick from them.
MANY HAND SANITIZERS DO NOT KILL THE VIRUS
The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water as the best way to kill any virus on them. If you don’t have access to soap and water, the CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol. Alcohol-free sanitizers or ones with less than 60% alcohol content may get your hands cleaner but DO NOT KILL THE VIRUS. (Allen & Song, 3/6/2020)
THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS – AND OTHER CONTAGIOUS ILLNESSES AS WELL
Keep your immune system strong. This is of the utmost
importance in this time of coronavirus and for maintaining good health
throughout your lifetime as well.
“Your immune system will mount an appropriate response to the invaders and begin to kill off the virus cells. You develop a fever, which creates a hostile environment for the virus, and you’ll gradually get rid of mucus and buildup by coughing, and through your nose running. This is a completely normal immune response.” (CentreSpringMD, 2020)
Here are two useful articles on what you can do instead of panicking:
A SOURCE OF SANE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Take a look at a sane article called COVID-19 Expert Reality Check published on 3/5/2020 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The article consists of questions about the virus and short answers written by recognized public health experts.
This is one of those answers, to the question “What is the best way to counter misinformation in the media?“
“The best way to counter misinformation in the media is with an
aggressive onslaught of facts. During an outbreak, information may be shifting,
guidance changing, and questions multiplying, but the process is guided by
adherence to reality and logic. Uncertainty is not an excuse for entertaining
arbitrary assertions offered in defiance of the need for evidence. They should
be identified as such and dismissed.
“Experts, in addition to relating facts, should also explain the
evidence that supports their conclusions and how recommendations are rooted in
that evidence. This is a daunting task, as it involves more than information
dissemination. It requires attention to what counts as evidence and an
understanding of how to evaluate competing claims—some of which are grounded in
evidence and some of which clearly are not.” (Johns Hopkins, 3/5/2020)
The author, Amesh Adalja, MD, is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Many thanks to Leif Olson for directing me to the useful Johns Hopkins Coronavirus-19 interactive map site.
Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. (updated daily, 2020). Interactive webbased map to track cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world. See: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html