Written by Dr Allan Kalus.
As I write this on Monday 23rd March 2020, there is a feeling of generalised panic in our community that the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 Virus Infection will come to Victoria. In a glimmer of hope however the number of confirmed daily new cases fell yesterday from 67 to 59. This has been the first significant fall in numbers of new cases. If the fall continues then it will be confirmation that the Government’s actions regarding the lockdown of our borders and social distancing strategies are beginning to work.
Here at Avenue Plastic Surgery and Avenue Advanced Skin Care we continue to service our patients, although with some changes. Whenever possible, consultations are done by phone or video link. For any personal interaction, where we are less than 1.5 metres from a patient, we will always wear a gown and mask. All surfaces are disinfected regularly and patients do not share the same waiting area. Many of our surgical patients have brought their surgery forward in anticipation that hospital closures may be imminent. Some patients have deferred their surgery until times improve.
I have personally been studying the world literature in order to understand how the virus infects us and what we can do to protect ourselves and our families.
It is interesting that some people contract the virus with no or minimal symptoms, others have moderate symptoms and some people become very sick. Given that there is no known immunity from this virus, this relative resistance to infection must stem from other causes.
It has been suggested that people with Blood Group O are more resistant. It is also known that Zinc, when it enters the human lung cell, destroys the virus. Most Zinc in our bodies however sits just outside the cell and to get it to enter the cell it requires a transporter. This is the way that hydroxychloroquine is believed to work in the treatment and possible prevention of this illness.
There is however another way to help Zinc pass through the cell wall. It is by taking a group of plant related substances called Flavonoids. Flavonoids are contained in berries, apples, onions, green tea and red wine. So theoretically, by taking Zinc supplements (not too much – just to make sure that you are not Zinc deficient) and by combining these with berries, apples, onions, green tea or red wine, we will help our bodies achieve higher intracellular Zinc levels and, theoretically at least, give us resistance to the COVID-19 Virus.
Other vitamins and substances such as high does Vitamin D, high dose Vitamin C, Ginger and Echinacea have also been shown to increase our general immunity. We have therefore arranged for our compounding pharmacist to produce a strawberry flavoured mixture containing these substances, as well as added Zinc. We are providing this to all of our staff and families in the expectation that this will boost their immune system generally and, specifically, provide protection against all Corona viruses including the COVID-19 Virus. We have made this available to the public too, should you be interested.
Individuals should conduct their own risk benefit analysis when deciding whether or not to take supplemental zinc with flavonoids and perhaps high dose vitamin D and high dose vitamin C as a way to boost immunity to Corona viruses, including COVID-19. Of course this does not take the place of social distancing. However the potential benefit is high, the risk is low and it works in the laboratory. With a new disease like COVID-19 it may be years before such interventions have been clinically proven.
Dr Allan Kalus