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Letters to the Editor Issue 263

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 263 - June 2020

The Number of Asymptomatic Infections Dramatically Lowers COVID-19 Case-fatality Rate

The public has been made aware of the number of COVID-19 deaths and reported cases that have occurred since the beginning of the current pandemic. However, the number of unreported cases has not been widely known or publicized. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that more than one-third of SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that can lead to COVID-19) infections are asymptomatic, meaning that initial estimations of its severity were grossly overestimated. Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) has collated data from U.S. antibody studies and produced an educational document outlining how an accurate case-fatality rate (CFR) requires antibody studies in order to guide and measure medical care and public health policies.

Comparing COVID-19 to previous seasonal and pandemic influenzas reveals a similar fatality rate.

Similar to CDC estimations, PIC's analysis results in a COVID-19 CFR of 0.26%, which is comparable to the case fatality rates of previous seasonal and pandemic flu periods.

To see PIC's educational document on assessing COVID-19 severity, visit or directly download at

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information:

Find a Doctor

To locate an orthomolecular physician near you:

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.
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Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief

Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Editor, Chinese Edition: Richard Cheng, M.D., Ph.D. (USA)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA), Associate Editor

Helen Saul Case, M.S. (USA), Assistant Editor
Michael S. Stewart, B.Sc.C.S. (USA), Technology Editor
Jason M. Saul, JD (USA), Legal Consultant

Further Information

Comments and media contact:

Click here to see a web copy of this news release:



World-Wide Nutritional Immunity  – Why Everybody, Everywhere is Taking Vitamin C

Commentary by Andrew W. Saul, Editor-in-Chief

"Vitamin C protects against coronavirus." The Orthomolecular Medicine News Service first said so on January 26. The opening sentence of that release was and remains politically incorrect: "The coronavirus pandemic can be dramatically slowed, or stopped, with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C." The next two sentences are virtually never quoted. "Physicians have demonstrated the powerful antiviral action of vitamin C for decades. There has been a lack of media coverage of this effective and successful approach against viruses in general, and coronavirus in particular."

Shortly after this release, CDC and WHO put up statements at their respective websites declaring that vitamin C was useless against COVID-19. Without even checking sources, USA Today and other newspapers declared it "fake news" and "false information." YouTube deleted videos of licensed physicians supporting therapeutic or even preventive use of vitamin C. Facebook literally blocked and banned this quote from one physician with over 30 years' experience treating viral illnesses:

"I have not seen any flu yet that was not cured or markedly ameliorated by massive doses of vitamin C."

(Robert F. Cathcart, MD)

But something else, something big, also happened. OMNS Chinese edition editor Richard Cheng, MD, PhD, was already in place in China. He was first to report in on several Chinese doctors' initial successes using intravenous vitamin C against COVID. This was followed by OMNS publishing quotes from seminars and interviews with these doctors. Videos of these physicians have been promptly and repeatedly removed by YouTube for "violating their community standards."

In spite of this, with no help from the network news, or the NIH, or the CDC, and certainly not from WHO, the public nevertheless drew a vital conclusion: if high dose intravenous vitamin C is useful for treating COVID-19 in hospitalized, ICU patients, then moderate oral doses of vitamin C will likely be a good preventive. Almost immediately, vitamin C sold out worldwide. Shelves were empty. Even the largest retailers were backordered for weeks. Some still are.

Practically the whole world is now taking vitamin C. I think this is the real reason why COVID-19 will not become COVID-20. Or 21.

All OMNS releases on COVID-19 follow below. They are all free access and may be freely reprinted with attribution.


Release #



Vol. 16, No. 28

May 4, 2020

Vitamin C and Coronavirus: Not a Vaccine; Just a Humble Cure
Vitamine C et Coronavirus - Pas de vaccin, seulement une humble cure

Vol. 16, No. 27

April 30, 2020

Protected Group Immunity, Not a Vaccine, is the Way to Stop the COVID-19 Pandemic
La Protection par Immunité de groupe, non par vaccin, est le moyen d'arrêter la pandémie de COVID-19

Vol. 16, No. 25

April 23, 2020

Vitamin C Evidence for Treating Complications of COVID-19 and other Viral Infections
Preuves de la Vitamine C, pour le traitement des complications de la COVID-19 et d'autres infections virales

Vol. 16, No. 23

April 9, 2020

Vitamin D Supplements Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infection and Death
La Supplémentation en Vitamine D pourrait réduire les risques de Grippe, d'Infection par COVID 19 et de Décès
Vitamin D könnte das Infektions- und Sterberisiko durch Influenza und COVID-19 verringern
L'integrazione di Vitamin a D potrebbe diminuire il rischi o di infezione e mortalità per i nfluenza e COVID 19

Vol. 16, No. 22

April 4, 2020

Sulforaphane as a Treatment for COVID-19
Sulforaphane comme Traitement du COVID-19
Sulforaphan zur Behandlung von COVID-19
Sulforaphane as a treatment for COVID-19

Vol. 16, No. 21

April 3, 2020

Rationale for Vitamin C Treatment of COVID-19 and Other Viruses
Justification du traitement à la vitamine C du COVID 19 et d'autres virus
Zur Begründung der Vitamin-C-Therapie bei COVID-19 und anderen viralen Infekten
Motivazioni a supporto dell̢۪impiego della Vitamina C per il COVID-19 e e gli altri virus


Vol. 16, No. 20

March 22, 2020

Published Research and Articles on Vitamin C as a Consideration for Pneumonia, Lung Infections, and the Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19)
Traitement par Perfusion IV de Vitamine C à Forte Dose du virus COVID-19
Veröffentlichte Studien und Artikel zum Einsatz von Vitamin C bei Pneumonie, Lungeninfekten und dem neuartigen Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19)
Ricerche e articoli pubblicati sulla vitamina C riguardanti polmonite, infezioni polmonari e il nuovo coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19)
Estudios y artículos publicados sobre la vitamina C, considerando la neumonía, las infecciones pulmonares y el nuevo coronavirus (SARS CoV 2/COVID 19)

Vol. 16, No. 19

March 21, 2020

High-dose Intravenous Vitamin C Treatment for COVID-19
Traitement par Perfusion IV de Vitamine C à Forte Dose du virus COVID 19
Intravenöse Vitamin-C-Hochdosis-Therapie für COVID-19

Vol. 16, No. 18

March 18, 2020

Successful High-Dose Vitamin C Treatment of Patients with Serious and Critical COVID-19 Infection
Succès du traitement de vitamine C à forte dose de patients atteints d'une infection grave et critique par CoViD-19
Erfolgreiche Hochdosis-Vitamin-C-Behandlung von Patienten mit schwerer und kritischer COVID-19-Infektion
Successo nel trattamento con vitamina C ad alte dosi in pazienti con infezione COVID-19 da moderata a grave

Vol. 16, No. 17

March 5, 2020

Vitamin C Saves Wuhan Family from COVID-19
La vitamine C sauve une famille de Wuhan du COVID-19
Vitamin C rettet Familie in Wuhan vor COVID-19
La vitamina C salva una famiglia di Wuhan dal COVID-19

Vol. 16, No. 16

March 3, 2020

Shanghai Government Officially Recommends Vitamin C for COVID-19
Le gouvernement de Shanghai recommande officiellement la vitamine C pour COVID-19
Die Regierung von Shanghai empfiehlt offiziell Vitamin C für COVID-19
Il governo di Shanghai raccomanda ufficialmente la vitamina C per il COVID-19


Vol. 16, No. 15

March 1, 2020

News Media Attacks Vitamin C Treatment of COVID-19 Coronavirus
Les Medias s'attaquent au Traitement à la Vitamine C contre le Coronavirus COVID-19
Medien greifen Vitamin-C-Behandlung des COVID-19-Coronavirus an
I Media attaccano il trattamento con vitamina C del coronavirus COVID-19

Vol. 16, No. 14

February 28, 2020

Vitamin C and COVID-19 Coronavirus
Vitamine C et COVID 19 Coronavirus
Vitamin C und das COVID-19-Coronavirus
La Vitamina C e il Coronavirus COVID-19
La Vitamina C y el Coronavirus COVID-19

Vol. 16, No. 13

February 23, 2020

TONS OF VITAMIN C TO WUHAN: China Using Vitamin C against COVID
Tonnen von Vitamin C für Wuhan

Vol. 16, No. 12

February 21, 2020

Three Intravenous Vitamin C Research Studies Approved for Treating COVID-19
Trois études de recherche sur la vitamine C par voie IV, approuvées pour le traitement de la COVID 19
Drei Studien über intravenöses Vitamin C zur Behandlung von COVID-19 genehmigt

Vol. 16, No. 11

February 16, 2020

Early Large Dose Intravenous Vitamin C is the Treatment of Choice for 2019-nCov Pneumonia
La Vitamine C Intraveineuse (IVC) Précoce à Forte Dose est le Traitement de Choix de la Pneumonie à 2019 nCov
Frühzeitige intravenöse Vitamin-C-Hochdosistherapie ist die Behandlung der Wahl der 2019-nCov-Pneumonie

Vol. 16, No. 10

February 13, 2020

Coronavirus Patients in China to be Treated with High-Dose Vitamin C
Les patients atteints de coronavirus en Chine seront traités avec une forte dose de vitamine C
Coronavirus-Patienten in China sollen mit hochdosiertem Vitamin C behandelt werden


Vol. 16, No. 09

February 10, 2020

VITAMIN C AND ITS APPLICATION TO THE TREATMENT OF nCoV CORONAVIRUS: How Vitamin C Reduces Severity and Deaths from Serious Viral Respiratory Diseases
Vitamin C und seine Anwendung zur Therapie des nCov-Coronavirus

Vol. 16, No. 07

February 2, 2020

Hospital-based Intravenous Vitamin C Treatment for Coronavirus and Related Illnesses
Traitement intraveineux à la vitamine C, en milieu hospitalier pour les coronavirus et les maladies connexes
Klinische intravenöse Vitamin-C-Therapie bei Coronavirus und verwandten Erkrankungen
Tratamiento intravenoso de vitamina C en hospitales para los coronavirus y enfermedades relacionadas

Vol. 16, No. 06

January 30, 2020

Nutritional Treatment of Coronavirus
Traitement nutritionnel du Coronavirus
Ernährungstherapie des Coronavirus

Vol. 16, No. 04

January 26, 2020

Vitamin C Protects Against Coronavirus
La Vitamine C protège contre les Coronavirus
Vitamin C schützt vor Coronavirus
La vitamina C protegge dal coronavirus


Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information:

Find a Doctor

To locate an orthomolecular physician near you:

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:

Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
Ian Brighthope, MBBS, FACNEM (Australia)
Prof. Gilbert Henri Crussol (Spain)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael J. Gonzalez, N.M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Tonya S. Heyman, M.D. (USA)
Suzanne Humphries, M.D. (USA)
Ron Hunninghake, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Jeffrey J. Kotulski, D.O. (USA)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Homer Lim, M.D. (Philippines)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Victor A. Marcial-Vega, M.D. (Puerto Rico)
Charles C. Mary, Jr., M.D. (USA)
Mignonne Mary, M.D. (USA)
Jun Matsuyama, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Joseph Mercola, D.O. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Tahar Naili, M.D. (Algeria)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Dag Viljen Poleszynski, Ph.D. (Norway)
Selvam Rengasamy, MBBS, FRCOG (Malaysia)
Jeffrey A. Ruterbusch, D.O. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
T.E. Gabriel Stewart, M.B.B.CH. (Ireland)
Hyoungjoo Shin, M.D. (South Korea)
Thomas L. Taxman, M.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Garry Vickar, MD (USA)
Ken Walker, M.D. (Canada)
Raymond Yuen, MBBS, MMed (Singapore
Anne Zauderer, D.C. (USA)

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief
Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Editor, Chinese Edition: Richard Cheng, M.D., Ph.D. (USA)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA), Associate Editor
Helen Saul Case, M.S. (USA), Assistant Editor
Michael S. Stewart, B.Sc.C.S. (USA), Technology Editor
Jason M. Saul, JD (USA), Legal Consultant

Comments and media contact: OMNS welcomes but is unable to respond to individual reader emails. Reader comments become the property of OMNS and may or may not be used for publication.

Andrew W. Saul founded the peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service in 2004 at the request of Abram Hoffer MD PhD and Hugh D. Riordan MD. Saul, Dr Hoffer's co-author for four books, has written, co-authored, or edited twenty-one more. He has no financial connection whatsoever with the supplement industry.

Click here to see a web copy of this news release:




VTCT New Qualification Enhancement for Exceptional Times

In order to help embed best practice and assist with building the confidence of both our centres, learners and their clients on how to “return back” safely, VTCT will from next week release six new Infection Prevention qualifications, which will become a pre-requisite on all VTCT and ITEC qualifications from 1st August 2020 onwards.

These qualifications will be regulated qualifications, the first of which Infection Prevention for Hairdressing and Barbering Services, will be made available for registration from Wednesday 10th June 2020.

VTCT have drawn upon a wide variety of reference materials applicable to personal services businesses including from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and national authorities in the UK and around the world, as well as from our experiences through our International activities in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore where we have seen the reopening of businesses since the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

Each qualification will allow learners to develop knowledge on the causes, transmission and effects of COVID-19, the importance of social responsibility and the methods used to control transmission such as correct hand hygiene and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  They will also gain an understanding of the safe working practices required to protect themselves and their clients.

Alan Woods OBE, VTCT’s Chief Executive said “We take our responsibility to the sector very seriously and are looking to help engender our centres, learners and their clients with the confidence that as things open up their safety will remain paramount.”

New qualifications:

  1. VTCT (ITEC) Level 2 Award in Infection Prevention (COVID-19) for Hairdressing and Barbering Services
  2. VTCT (ITEC) Level 2 Award in Infection Prevention (COVID-19) for Beauty Therapy and Nail Services
  3. VTCT (ITEC) Level 2 Award in Infection Prevention (COVID-19) for Complementary Therapies and Sports Massage
  4. VTCT (ITEC) Level 2 Award in Infection Prevention (COVID-19) for Make-up Services
  5. VTCT (ITEC) Level 2 Award in Infection Prevention (COVID-19) for Sport and Fitness Sessions
  6. VTCT (ITEC) Level 2 Award in Infection Prevention (COVID-19) for Retail Services

About VTCT

VTCT is a market-leading specialist Awarding & Assessment Organisation, with a UK market share of 63%, offering vocational and technical qualifications in a range of ‘services to people’.

Following the acquisition of iTEC in 2016, VTCT’s presence further expanded worldwide, with over 2,000 approved centres in over 40 countries.

The qualifications suite offered by VTCT & iTEC spans a range of sectors including hairdressing and barbering, beauty therapy, complementary therapy, sport, active health and fitness, business, retail, and learning and development.

Further Information

For more information visit us at, or please contact Marcus Bull, our Chief Commercial Officer either via email; or call +44 (0)7715 655056.



Covid-19: Treating Cause and Effects – “Autonomic Dysfunction, the Immune System and Lactic Acidosis”

by Carlos ETB Monteiro*

Covid-19 and the Central Nervous System

  • Presentation of a global portrait of some of the most prevalent or emerging human respiratory viruses that have been associated with possible pathogenic processes in Central Nervous System infection, with a special emphasis on human coronaviruses; [1]
  • Review about the research into neurological complications in Cov infections and the possible mechanisms of damage to the nervous system;[2]  
  • Patients with COVID-19 commonly have neurologic manifestations. Compared with patients with non-severe infection, patients with severe infection were older, and had more underlying disorders;[3]
  • Increasing evidence shows that coronaviruses are not always confined to the respiratory tract and that they may also invade the central nervous system inducing neurological diseases.[4]

Covid-19 and the Autonomic Nervous System

  • Svtetlana Blitshteyn, MD, said in recent article:

“While there is no data on how COVID-19 affects individuals with autoimmune and/or autonomic disorders, we can hypothesize how they would respond to COVID-19 based on their response to the flu. My personal opinion is that patients with these disorders should be viewed as high risk population….” [5]

  • During the 2020 Congress from the European Academy of Neurology the Scientific Panel for Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Disorders, stated:

“Autonomic disorders, or their treatment, may place the patient at a greater risk of contracting infections or of a more severe course.”[6]

  • Autonomic dysfunction has been reported in retrovirus (human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human T-lymphotropic virus), herpes viruses, flavivirus, enterovirus 71 and lyssavirus infections. Autonomic dysfunction may be responsible for additional morbidity in some infectious diseases. [7]

Autonomic Nervous System and the Immune System

  • Both sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the autonomic nervous system are instrumental in orchestrating the neuroimmune processes. [8]

Covid-19 and the Immune System

  • The immune response is essential to control and eliminate CoV infections, however, maladjusted immune responses may result in immunopathology and impaired pulmonary gas exchange. [9]

Lactic Acidosis and Immune System

Lactate has been shown to regulate immune responses during infections. Its reduction may start the immune response (27,28]

Lactic Acidosis and Coagulation in Covid-19

  • It was observed that the most common laboratory abnormalities were depressed total lymphocytes, prolonged prothrombin time, and elevated lactate dehydrogenase; [10]
  • The coagulation function in patients with SARS-CoV-2 is significantly deranged compared with healthy people [11]. However, lactic acidosis remarkably impairs the coagulation system. [12]

Fighting Covid-19

Our view

  • Old people and patients with chronic diseases pose a large risk for Covid-19. However, in all patients infected with Covid-19, we should fight both the virus as well to prevent or solve the autonomic nervous dysfunction, the weakened immune system, and to reduce the production of lactic acid in the body.

The Solution:

Cardiac Glycosides: For Autonomic Dysfunction, Lactic Acidosis, and the Immune System

  • The right drugs to fight the autonomic nervous dysfunction and lactic acidosis are digoxin, digitoxin and other cardiac glycosides, at daily low concentration doses, because these attends both situations; [13-15]
  • Cardiac glycosides may also strengthen the innate immune system; [16]

Cardiac Glycosides: Potential drugs to Fight Covid-19

  • Studies demonstrated potential positive effects from digoxin and other cardiac glycosides as antivirals, including for Covid-19; [17-20]  
  • Also, it has been shown that viruses that target lung epithelial cells are severely impaired by cardiac glycosides”. [21]

Vitamin C and D are also Helpful for Covid-19

  • Acute administration of Vitamin C at high doses improves baroreflex sensitivity and vagal sinus modulation. Consequently, it influences the stabilization of the autonomic function.[22,23] Vitamin C may also contribute to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system;[24]
  • A recent study elucidates the potential therapeutic role of Vitamin D for autonomic dysfunction. According to this study Vitamin D is a neuroactive hormone that modulates autonomic balance, regulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and has multisystem benefits.[25] Vitamin D can also modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. [26]

Suggested reading

For more information read our book Autonomic Dysfunction + Lactic Acidosis = Multiple Diseases. Particularly the page 6 on the ‘Look Inside” that is free of charge until page 17. This book was published by at


1)     Desforges M, Le Coupanec A, Dubeau P et al. Human Coronaviruses and Other Respiratory Viruses: Underestimated Opportunistic Pathogens of the Central Nervous System? Viruses 2020, 12(1), 14 at

2)     Yeshun Wu, Xiaolin Xu, Zijun Chen et al. Nervous system involvement after infection with COVID-19 and other coronaviruses. Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Mar 30 at

3)     Mao L, Jin H, Wang M et al. Neurologic Manifestations of Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China. JAMA Neurol. 2020 Apr 10 at

4)     Yan‐Chao Li, Wan‐Zhu Bai and Tsutomu Hashikawa. The neuroinvasive potential of SARS‐CoV2 may play a role in the respiratory failure of COVID‐19 patients. J Med Virol 2020, 92 at

5)     Svtetlana Blitshteyn MD. Coronavirus and Dysautonomia: What you need to do now. March 10, 2020 at

6)     Fanciulli A, Habek M, Carneiro D et al. Covod-19: statement by the Autonomic nervous system disorders Scientific Panel. 2020 Congress from the European Academy of Neurology, April 17, 2020 at

7)     Carod-Artal FJ. Infectious diseases causing autonomic dysfunction. Clin Auton Res 28, 67-81, 2018 at

8)     Kenney MJ, Ganta CK. Autonomic nervous system and immune system interactions.  Compr Physiol. 2014 Jul;4(3):1177-200 at

9)     Geng Li, Yaohua Fan, Yanni Lai et al. Coronavirus infections and immune responses. J Med Virol. 2020 Apr; 92(4): 424–432 at

10) Dawei Wang, Bo Hu, Chang Hu, et al. Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA. 2020;323(11):1061-1069 at

11) Han H, Yang L, Liu R et al. Prominent changes in blood coagulation of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2020 Mar 16 at

12) Engstrom M, Schott U, Nordstrom CH et al. Increased lactate levels impair the coagulation system--a potential contributing factor to progressive hemorrhage after traumatic brain injury. J Neurosurg Anesthesiol. 2006 Jul;18(3):200-4 at  

13) Watanabe AM. Digitalis and the Autonomic Nervous System. JACC Vol. 5; No.5, 35 A - 42A: May 1985 at

14) Calderón-Montaño J, Burgos-Morón E, Lopez-Lazaro M. The Cardiac Glycosides Digitoxin, Digoxin and Ouabain Induce a Potent Inhibition of Glycolysis in Lung Cancer Cells. WebmedCentral CANCER,;4(7);WMC004323: 2013 at

15) Kypson J, Triner L, Nahas GG. The effects of cardiac glycosides and their interaction with catecholamines on glycolysis and glycogenolysis in skeletal muscle J Pharmacol Exp Ther,164(1); 22-30:1968 at

16) Schneider NFZ, Cerella C, Simões CMO and Diederich M. Anticancer and Immunogenic Properties of

Cardiac Glycosides. Molecules 2017, 22, 1932 at

17) Amarelle A and Lecuona E. The Antiviral Effects of Na,K-ATPase Inhibition: A Minireview.  Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Aug; 19(8): 2154 at

18) Grosso F, Stoilov P, Lingwood C et al. Suppression of Adenovirus Replication by Cardiotonic Steroids. J Virol. 2017 Feb 1; 91(3): e01623-16.

19) Meehyun Ko, So Young Chang, et al. Screening of FDA-approved drugs using a MERS-CoV clinical isolate from South Korea identifies potential therapeutic options for COVID-19, bioRxiv 2020 at

20) Talluri S. Virtual High Throughput Screening Based Prediction of Potential Drugs for COVID-19. PrePrints, 9 March 2020 at

21) Haux J. Digitalis for coronavirus infection! British Medical Journal, 30 March 2020 at

22) Piccirillo G, Nocco M, Moisè A et al. Influence of Vitamin C on Baroreflex Sensitivity in Chronic Heart Failure. Hypertension. 2003; 41:1240-1245 at

23) Bruno RM, Daghini E, Ghiadoni L et al. Effect of acute administration of vitamin C on muscle sympathetic activity, cardiac sympathovagal balance, and baroreflex sensitivity in hypertensive patients. Am J Clin Nutr August 2012 vol. 96 no. 2 302-308 at

24) Carr AC and Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11) at

25) Wadhwania R. Is Vitamin D Deficiency Implicated in Autonomic Dysfunction? J Pediatr Neurosci. 2017 Apr-Jun; 12(2): 119–123 at

26) Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011 Aug;59(6):881-6 at

27) Zhang W, Wang G, GangXu Z et al. Lactate Is a Natural Suppressor of RLR Signaling by Targeting MAVS. Cell Volume 178, Issue 1, 27 June 2019, Pages 176-189.e15 at

28) Certo M, Marone G, de Paulis A et al. Lactate: Fueling the fire starter.  WIREs Syst Biol Med. 2020;12:e1474 at

About the Author

Carlos ETB Monteiro, Independent Researcher and Scientist, President, Infarct Combat Project (



Study to Identify Markers That Could Predict COVID-19 Outcome

COVID-19 is the UK’s largest public health crisis since World War II. There is an urgent need to identify why some patients with the virus do very well whereas others need to be admitted to intensive care and may die from the disease.  A new observational study aimed at identifying markers that predict how COVID-19 affects patients is being led by clinicians and academics at North Bristol NHS Trust and the University of Bristol.

The DISCOVER (DIagnostic and Severity markers of COVID-19 to Enable Rapid triage) study is focused on blood-based biomarkers and their ability to predict a patient’s disease course alongside demographic factors such as age, sex, frailty and other medical conditions.

When patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are admitted to hospital, they will be approached by the research team and consented for blood sampling and access to their medical history. These patients will then be followed up for 28 days, remotely, and their clinical progress recorded.  Blood samples from the study will be stored anonymously for future research.

One biomarker the research team will test is suPAR (soluble urokinase plasminogen activating receptor), which has already had encouraging results from Greek data, alongside other more conventional tests, such as troponin, NT-proBNP and ferritin.  The team will also test a variety of molecules that control the immune system, known as ‘cytokines’.  This is very important as, although the majority of patients with COVID-19 recover quickly, at the present time doctors do not yet know the best way to predict which patients to keep in hospital to monitor more closely.  This early triage of patients is crucial to manage the pressure on hospital beds safely.

Dr David Arnold at North Bristol NHS Trust and NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow in the Bristol Medical School: (THS), said: “We hope to rapidly publish this work and share our results with other UK and international centres to allow wider use of successful prognostic biomarkers.  Our study could help doctors in the future decide which tests are useful in managing coronavirus and which are not.”

Dr Fergus Hamilton, Honorary Research Fellow in the Bristol Medical School: (PHS), added: “One of the key strengths of DISCOVER is that despite the rapid speed of application, ethical approval, and data collection, plans were made early to collaborate with both local and national researchers to ensure that any samples or data collected will be available to ensure the benefit to the wider research community, and ultimately, to patients. We have developed many collaborations over a short period, including with the UNCOVER group and Public Health England.”

Collaborations include:

  • Development and testing of antibody testing (or ‘immunity passports’);
  • Developing techniques to measure drug levels for potential treatments for COVID-19;
  • Finding ways to measure live virus in blood (with one of only two labs in the UK authorized to work with SARS-CoV-2);
  • Understanding the ‘microbiome’ of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit;
  • Measurement of whether patients with cancer have a different immune response to COVID-19;
  • Testing whether patients’ genes (or how they are activated) affects response to COVID-19.

Patients admitted to University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) will shortly join the North Bristol NHS Trust led study, with hospitals in Exeter and Gloucester entering in the coming weeks. This North Bristol NHS Trust led study will be working with the Trust’s charity, Southmead Hospital Charity, to support DISCOVER.  Additionally this ground-breaking research project has also received funding from the University’s Elizabeth Blackwell Institute.

If you are interested in donating to help fund DISCOVER and provide further ground-breaking research into COVID-19, please contact Southmead Hospital Charity to find out more.

Further Information

For further information or to arrange an interview with Drs David Arnold and Fergus Hamilton,  please contact Joanne Fryer [Mon to Wed], email, mobile: +44 (0)7747 768805, Caroline Clancy [Wed to Fri], email, mobile: +44 (0)7776 170238.

About the Bristol UNCOVER Group

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, researchers at the University of Bristol formed the Bristol COVID Emergency Research (UNCOVER) Group to pool resources, capacities, and research efforts to combat this infection.  Bristol UNCOVER includes clinicians, immunologists, virologists, synthetic biologists, aerosol scientists, epidemiologists and mathematical modellers and has links to behavioural and social scientists, ethicists and lawyers and is supported by a large number of junior academic and administrative colleagues.
Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (EBI) supports Bristol UNCOVER, which is led by Professor Adam Finn, and includes a number of researchers who have received grants from the EBI COVID-19 funding call. For more information about the University of Bristol’s coronavirus (COVID-19) research priorities visit:

About Southmead Hospital Charity

Southmead Hospital Charity funds ground-breaking medical research; provides specialist equipment at the cutting-edge of technology and improves treatment facilities for generations to come.  It raises money to support the work of North Bristol NHS Trust at Southmead Hospital, Cosham Hospital and community health services in the Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset areas. 

About Elizabeth Blackwell Institute

Nurturing research. Improving health.

The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute drives innovation in research to improve health for all. It nurtures interdisciplinary research to address the complex health challenges facing us today.

The institute focuses on:

  • Supporting the next generation of health researchers
  • Connecting people to develop interdisciplinary research
  • Including everyone in research so the research can benefit all.

As well as supporting research with funding the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute is also helping to connect research up across the University as a whole, so that people working on COVID-19 have the chance to work together, sharing resources and expertise. This aligns with the work that the Institute already supports to galvanise research across disciplines and groups, through research networks and thematic strands, ranging from Infection and Immunity to Medical Humanities.



People Who Cycle to Work have a Higher Risk of Injury, but Benefits Offset Risk

Commuters who cycle to work are at higher risk of injury compared to those who walk to work, use a car or take public transport according to a study conducted by the University of Glasgow published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).[1]

Overall, commuting exclusively by bicycle was associated with a 45% higher risk of injury that required a visit to hospital, and cycling commuters were also at a 3.4 fold higher risk of injury where the cause was listed as a transport accident. The risk of injury was higher still in those that cycled longer distances to work. However, the researchers found that the risk of injury is counterbalanced by the lower risk of cancers, heart disease and deaths seen in cycling commuters.

The British Social Attitudes survey of adults suggests that only 4% of people cycle to work once a week despite 39% owning a bicycle. Crucially, 64% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that cycling on the road is too dangerous.

Senior author of the study, Dr Paul Welsh, from the University of Glasgow, said:

“We know there is a perception that cycling in commuter traffic is dangerous, and that this perception may be putting people off actively commuting by bike to work.

“Now, as a result of this research, we can to some extent quantify the risk associated with this form of commuting. If 1000 people incorporate cycling into their commute for 10 years we would expect 26 more injuries, but 15 fewer cancers, 4 fewer heart disease events, and three fewer deaths. So, the benefits offset the risks, and this should be encouraging, but more needs to done to make commuter cycling safe.”

While authors of the study did not carry out research into the methods and facilities that could be used to make commuting by bicycle safer, they were able to put their findings into the wider context of current cycle safety.

Dr Welsh said: “Although we did not investigate strategies to make cycling safer, initiatives such as segregated cycle lanes, speed reductions and traffic calming have been shown, in previous work, to provide improved safety.

“Our work along with other research in this area suggests that, there is a need for both local and central government in the UK to consider a wide range of options for improving cycling-specific, as well as general, road safety. Without improvements, many people simply won’t consider cycling as a viable commute option”

Data for the study was collected from 230,390 commuters recruited from 22 sites across the UK who participated in UK Biobank. Of those included in the research 52% were female with a mean age of 52.4 years, and 47% lived within 5 miles of work, though only 2.5% of participants said that cycling was their main form of commuter transport, and 8.3% used cycling at all.

Compared to non-active commuters – which made up 77.5% of the group studied – cycle commuters had lower BMI, were more likely to be male, and less likely to be a current smoker or have a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, or other longstanding health issues. Even after accounting for these differences in profile, cycling commuters were at lower risk of cancer, heart disease and death.


1. Welsh, C. et al. Association of injury related hospital admissions with commuting by bicycle in the UK: prospective population based study. BMJ; 368:m336. 2020. doi:  (Published 11 March 2020).   

Further Information

For more information contact Elizabeth McMeekin or Ali Howard in the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office on 0141 330 4831 or 0141 330 6557; or email  or


Nanostructured Rubber-Like Material with Optimal Properties could Replace Human Tissue


Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have created a new, rubber-like material with a unique set of properties, which could act as a replacement for human tissue in medical procedures. The material has the potential to make a big difference to many people's lives. The research was recently published in the highly regarded scientific journal ACS Nano.[1]
In the development of medical technology products, there is a great demand for new naturalistic materials suitable for integration with the body. Introducing materials into the body comes with many risks, such as serious infections, among other things. Many of the substances used today, such as Botox, are very toxic. There is a need for new, more adaptable materials.

In the new study, the Chalmers researchers developed a material consisting solely of components that have already been shown to work well in the body.

The foundation of the material is the same as plexiglass, a material which is common in medical technology applications. Through redesigning its makeup, and through a process called nanostructuring, they gave the newly patented material a unique combination of properties. The researchers' initial intention was to produce a hard bone-like material, but they were met with surprising results.

“We were really surprised that the material turned to be very soft, flexible and extremely elastic. It would not work as a bone replacement material, we concluded. But the new and unexpected properties made our discovery just as exciting,” says Anand Kumar Rajasekharan, PhD in Materials Science and one of the researchers behind the study.

The results showed that the new rubber-like material may be appropriate for many applications which require an uncommon combination of properties – high elasticity, easy processability, and suitability for medical uses.

“The first application we are looking at now is urinary catheters. The material can be constructed in such a way that prevents bacteria from growing on the surface, meaning it is very well suited for medical uses,” says Martin Andersson, research leader for the study and Professor of Chemistry at Chalmers.

The structure of the new nano-rubber material allows its surface to be treated so that it becomes antibacterial, in a natural, non-toxic way. This is achieved by sticking antimicrobial peptides – small proteins which are part of our innate immune system – onto its surface. This can help reduce the need for antibiotics, an important contribution to the fight against growing antibiotic resistance.

Because the new material can be injected and inserted via keyhole surgery, it can also help reduce the need for drastic surgery and operations to rebuild parts of the body. The material can be injected via a standard cannula as a viscous fluid, so that it forms its own elastic structures within the body. Or, the material can also be 3D printed into specific structures as required.

“There are many diseases where the cartilage breaks down and friction results between bones, causing great pain for the affected person. This material could potentially act as a replacement in those cases,” Martin Andersson continues.

A further advantage of the material is that it contains three-dimensionally ordered nanopores. This means it can be loaded with medicine, for various therapeutic purposes such as improving healing and reducing inflammation. This allows for localized treatment, avoiding, for example, having to treat the entire body with drugs, something that could help reduce problems associated with side effects. Since it is non-toxic, it also works well as a filler – the researchers see plastic surgery therefore as another very interesting potential area of application for the new material.

“I am now working full time with our newly founded company, Amferia, to get the research out to industry. I have been pleased to see a lot of real interest in our material. It’s promising in terms of achieving our goal, which is to provide real societal benefit,” Anand concludes.

Read the study, “Tough Ordered Mesoporous Elastomeric Biomaterials Formed at Ambient Conditions” in the scientific journal ACS Nano.

The path of the research to societal benefit and commercialisation, through start-up company Amferia and Chalmers Ventures

In order for the discovery of the new material to be useful and commercialized, the researchers patented their innovation before the study was published. The patent is owned by start-up company Amferia, which was founded by Martin Andersson and Anand Kumar Rajasekharan, two of the researchers behind the study, as well as researcher Saba Atefyekta who recently completed a PhD in Materials Science at Chalmers. Anand is now CEO of Amferia and will drive the application of the new material and development of the company.

Amferia has previously been noted for an antibacterial wound patch developed by the same team. Amferia now has the innovation of both the new nano-rubber and the antibacterial wound patch. The development of the company and the innovations' path to making profit are now being carried out in collaboration with Chalmers Ventures, a subsidiary of Chalmers University of Technology.


1. Anand K. Rajasekharan, Christoffer Gyllensten, Edvin Blomstrand, Marianne Liebi, and Martin Andersson*. Tough Ordered Mesoporous Elastomeric Biomaterials Formed at Ambient Conditions. ACS Nano 14 1): 241–254. 2020. 17 Dec 17 2019. 

Further Information

Martin Andersson, Professor in Chemistry
Tel: +46317722966

Anand Kumar Rajasekharan, PhD in Materials Science and CEO of Amferia
Tel: +46 (0)762 981238



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