Homeopathy Papers

The Novel 2019 Coronavirus

The Novel 2019 Coronavirus 1

Dr. Ronald D. Whitmont discusses viruses, including COVID -19, their harm and benefits, as well as strategies for building and maintaining a strong immune system by fostering a healthy biome.

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that emerged from Wuhan, China has spread worldwide causing a global pandemic of respiratory infections complicated by pneumonia, and severe cases of respiratory failure resembling adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

The disease appears to preferentially attack elderly men and those with significant underlying chronic medical illnesses.[1] There is currently no conventionally recognized effective preventative treatment, vaccination or cure for COVID-19, though homeopaths have successfully managed many outbreaks of similar epidemic infectious diseases over the last two centuries.[2],[3],[4]

Many nations are currently under “lockdown” orders restricting nonessential activities, work and travel.  The media is dominated by stories, reports and recommendations advising how best to avoid contact, and once contacted, how to prevent spread of infection to others.

Most recommendations are based on the principle of “slowing” spread of COVID-19, since it cannot be stopped. The theoretical basis of slowing spread, or “flattening the curve” is based on trying to prevent overwhelming the available medical resources of hospitals and intensive care units (ICU’s), not on ending the pandemic.  Conventional care is based on respiratory support and eventually, vaccination.  All available information on the spread of COVID-19 indicate that, for most healthy people, the illness will manifest as a mild self-limited cold or influenza-like illness, but for those who suffer from chronic illness it may be much more serious and at times, deadly. A brief analysis of the overall situation might explain why.

Testing strategies vary between country and geographic region.  In the US, testing resources have been withheld for the very ill. This means that many more people could be asymptomatic carriers of this disease. So far, the majority (82%) of known cases of COVID-19 infection have developed symptoms ranging between extremely mild colds, to moderate flu-like illnesses, or no symptoms at all.

Normal, healthy children do not appear to be affected by this disease, but they may be asymptomatic carriers who spread the infection to others. COVID-19 is a mutated coronaviruse which typically causes the “common cold.”[5]

Nearly 20% of those who become sick with COVID-19 develop more severe symptoms consistent with a severe bout of influenza.  A very small percentage of these have developed complications including pneumonia, ARDS and respiratory failure leading to death.

Depending on geographic region, scope of testing and other available resources, between 1 – 14% have died.  The majority of these deaths were in the elderly and those undergoing treatment for other pre-existing chronic medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, kidney, lung, heart and liver disease. [6]  About 1% of those who have died did not appear to fit into this risk category and their deaths have not been explained.

Worldwide, most people exposed to the COVID-19 virus will only develop mild upper respiratory tract symptoms similar to the “common cold.”  A small number of people, predominantly those affected by, and being treated for an underlying chronic medical condition, are significantly higher risk of developing a more severe symptoms, complications and death.

Unfortunately, for many reasons, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the majority (60%) of Americans already suffer from at least one form of chronic medical illness, while about 40% live with two or more chronic medical conditions.[7] This means that more than half of the US population is already at greater than normal risk of developing complications from COVID-19.  The US death rate from COVID-19 may be substantially higher than the averages so far observed throughout the rest of the world.

Americans spend more per capita on health care than any other nation on earth ($3.5 trillion, or nearly 20% of GDP), yet rank lower than most developed nations in health indices, including longevity and infant mortality.[8]

Americans suffer from higher rates of chronic illness than their international peers,[9],[10] and are the largest users of pharmaceutical drugs in the world, spending almost $400 billion annually on these products.[11] Americans are sicker because they use more of these products “from the cradle to the grave” than any other nation on earth.

Hundreds of thousands die annually from the use of these medications taken as prescribed, and millions more suffer long-term harm and chronic ailments as a direct result of these interventions. The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of this.

The epidemic of chronic inflammatory illnesses in the US[12] and other developed nations results from the ubiquitous reliance on pharmaceutical medicines to manage illness in our society.  These effects are most readily observed in relation to the battle against infectious disease.[13]

According to the CDC, the average American child receives 15 courses of antibiotics before their 18th birthday.[14] Most pediatricians routinely recommend the use of either Tylenol, Ibuprofen or a combination of both in every febrile illness involving the immune system.[15]

The heavy reliance on antibiotics and antipyretics (and many other drugs) for routine treatment of acute infections, is associated with significant adverse effects on the microbiome[16] and the immune system.[17]

The cumulative effect of this over-reliance on medications to treat common acute inflammatory conditions promotes the development of chronic inflammation in the form of allergies,[18] asthma[19] and autoimmunity,[20] and an impaired ability to fight infections.[21]

Coronaviruses are comprised of a group of viruses that are frequently associated with the “common cold,” but they have also been associated with several severe epidemics known as SARS and MERS.[22]  The novel COVID-19 coronavirus is more aggressive than the “common cold” and poses a significant challenge for those already suffering from impaired immunity, which includes most Americans.

The increased risk of developing complications and death from COVID-19 appears to be due to several factors, including the presence of an underlying chronic medical condition that impairs immunity, as well as the concomitant use of certain medicines that can suppress immunity and delay recovery, particularly the class of medicines that include NSAIDs.[23]

Coronaviruses apparently bind to their target cells in the lung, kidneys, blood vessels and GI tract through angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors,[24] which has led researchers at the Department of Biomedicine and Internal Medicine at the University Hospital in Basel Switzerland, and the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki Greece to recognize that certain drugs used in the treatment of hypertension, diabetes and inflammation may be responsible for “increases [in] the risk of developing severe and fatal” infection with COVID-19.

The drugs, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II type-I receptor blockers (ARBs), Thiazolidinediones (Avandia and Actos), and Ibuprofen, appear to increase risk of these severe illness, risk of respiratory failure and death from COVID-19.[25]

Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, drugs that have been routinely and ubiquitously utilized to reduce inflammation, are among  “the most commonly used medications in the world,”[26] but their continued use may do the opposite: they may increase the risk of developing inflammation[27] and possibly the “cytokine storm,” which is believed to be the final common pathway leading to death in many epidemic infections including COVID-19.[28]

There is good reason to suspect that these drugs increase the risk of complications and death from COVID-19 and may account for the, so far, unexplained deaths of the 1% who do not fall into other risk categories from this virus.  This would not be the first time that an NSAID was implicated in a pandemic.

An estimated 50 million people died worldwide in the great influenza pandemic of 1918.[29]  That pandemic also marked the first time that aspirin (an NSAID) was marketed and made available for public use.  It was taken in large doses by many, on the advice of physicians and pharmacists, who recommended it to prevent and treat influenza.

There is reasonable anecdotal and preclinical evidence to suggest that the heavy use of aspirin was associated with some of the gravest consequences in otherwise “young and healthy” individuals who precipitously died from this virus.[30]  Contemporary physicians understand that aspirin is contraindicated in viral infections because of its association with increased risk of both immune and neurological complications.[31]

Even though aspirin is no longer routinely recommended for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease “because of [a] lack of net benefit,”[32] it is still routinely taken by more than 29 million American men due to a belief that it helps.[33]

Aspirin isn’t recommended because it causes more deaths from gastrointestinal bleeding,[34] stroke[35] and cancer[36] than it prevents from cardiovascular disease. Since it may also increase the risk of complications and death from COVID-19, it should be avoided along with all the other NSAIDs.[37]

Interestingly, viruses are not considered to be “living” organisms, but they are the most ubiquitous biological agents in the natural world,[38] outnumbering bacteria by 10:1. The overwhelming majority of viruses in our bodies (and in the ecosystem in general) are beneficial, ie, they do NOT cause illness, they promote ecological health and symbiosis between other organisms and serve to advance the continual evolution of stable ecosystems.  There are approximately 380 trillion individual viruses in the average healthy human body (compared with only 37 trillion human cells); there are more than 1030 (one nonillion) viruses in the oceans alone[39] and more than 1.7 million different viral species that have already been identified.[40]

Not only do viruses spread by person-to-person contact, but they are readily transported and disseminated through the atmosphere where they remain viable for long periods of time.[41]

National borders, fences, walls and quarantines will not disrupt this mode of transmission, where more than 800 million viruses fall onto every square meter of ground per-day across the entire globe, even in the most “pristine alpine environments.”[42]

In addition to viruses, more than 545 different bacterial and 168 different fungal species are transported in fog, clouds and “fresh air.”[43] The concentration density of these micro-organisms increases as air becomes more polluted with smog, dust, smoke and other man-made pollutants.[44]

Viruses are critical for both human and environmental health and stability.[45]  An extremely small number of viruses are actually associated with human illness but many more are associated with significant long-term health benefits.  But for those suffering from chronic illness or taking medicines that interfere with the microbiome or the immune system, even relatively benign viruses can increase the risk of devastating illness.[46]

Viral infections impart definite long-term health benefits, particularly during childhood, where they help educate and stimulate the immune system to mature.  The greater the number of acute lower respiratory-tract infections (which are mostly viral[47]) experienced in childhood, the lower their risk of asthma and allergies throughout life.[48]

Children with older siblings, larger families and more acute infections,[49] and those who attend day care at an early age have more viral respiratory infections, and a significantly lower risk of developing autoimmune disease, including Type 1 Diabetes.[50]

A number of diseases including atopy,[51] diabetes, and multiple sclerosis appear[52] to be prevented by early childhood exposure to viruses. Exposure to viruses, and the acute infections that they trigger, appear to activate the innate immune system and form a bridge to adaptive immunity, which is responsible for resolving inflammation and providing lifelong protection.[53]

Viral exposure plays a critical role in immune system development and the prevention of chronic illness.[54]  Animals raised in germ-free conditions demonstrate significant impairment in organ development and immune system competency.

Households that practice high levels of hygiene, including automatic dishwashing have higher levels of allergies and autoimmunity compared with those who don’t.[55],[56]  Children raised without conventional medicines appear to have lower rates of rhinoconjunctivitis, atopic eczema, and atopic sensitization than their age matched peers.[57],[58]

A critical caveat to viral infections is that these long-term benefits fail to materialize if antibiotics are administered to treat these common childhood infections, an all too common practice in American households.[59]

In a healthy state, every human hosts a wide range of benign asymptomatic chronic viral “infections.”[60]  Only a very small fraction of these viruses are capable of causing human illness, and most exist in stable symbiosis with the immune system and the microbiome.[61]  Not surprisingly viral infections can be triggered by environmental factors, particularly immunosuppressive therapies that disturb the microbiome.

Viruses may play an important role in preventing illness since they have been used to treat certain conditions:  Herpes simplex virus (HSV) exposure reverses late stage malignant melanoma,[62] and many “common cold” viruses (including coronavirus) treat bladder,[63] brain,[64] and breast cancers.[65]

Routine exposure to these particular viruses throughout might life may play an important role in in preventing these conditions, but more research is certainly warranted on the benefits of viral exposure.

Certain viruses become pathogenic when either the immune system is suppressed, or the microbiome is disrupted.  Antibiotic induced dysbiosis (an ecological imbalance in the microbiome) triggers the herpes simplex Type II virus (HSVII) to become lethal.[66]

Dysbiosis triggers the human papillomavirus (HPV) to shift from commensal to pathogenic by becoming invasive and causing cervical cancer.[67]  Both of these viruses normally exist in benign symbiosis with the body, when the microbiome is healthy, without causing illnesses.

When the microbiome is disrupted (usually by medications) the ecological balance is disturbed, and normally symbiotic organisms can become pathogenic. This may be one of the mechanisms behind the extreme pathogenicity of the COVID-19 virus in those with impaired immunity.  The virus causes only a mild illness in a healthy individual, but in an immunologically (or microbiome) compromised individual, the virus is associated with a much more severe disease.

Many viruses have been found to play key roles in immune system development, and their absence can create long-term health problems: for example, the offspring of mothers who lack exposure (prior to pregnancy) to rubella or coxsackie B viruses, are at  significantly higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes.[68]

Mice who have been exposed to herpesvirus, cytomegalovirus, or Epstein Barr Virus are protected against bacterial infections caused by Listeria monocytogenes (which causes gastroenteritis and brain infections) and Yersinia pestis (which causes bubonic plague).[69]

Not only are viruses “considered to be key contributors to the evolution” of all other organisms on the planet, most viruses evolve rapidly to adapt to their hosts,[70]  tending to become less “virulent” and more symbiotic over time.[71]

A successful virus adapts to (rather than kills) its host by reaching a state of “metastatic equilibrium” and becoming commensal or symbiotic.[72] Even corona virus COVID-19 has undergone mutations and has been detected in at least two different forms: one more aggressive than the other.[73]

Depending on environmental factors (particularly medical interventions), this adaption process can shift the virus in the opposite direction: into more resistant and aggressive forms.  When this happens, viral evolution follows a similar pattern seen when bacteria are treated with antibiotics: they develop resistance, which is frequently accompanied by more aggressive and virulent behavior.

Viruses (like bacteria) are critical components of all living systems essential to the environment and the human microbiome. Continued health requires a process of continual exposure and adaptation to these organisms.

Conventional medical pharmaceutical approaches which emphasize antibacterial and antiviral treatments have failed to grasp the ecological importance of these organisms in human health and immune development.

One of the most obvious results of this approach is the epidemic of chronic inflammatory illnesses now plaguing modern pharmaceutically dependent societies.  COVID-19 is an organism that takes advantage of the biological gap created by this approach in a subset of the population which has been made extremely vulnerable. This is an entirely predictable outcome, long foreseen, based on the methods of treatment utilized by our society.

What is most needed now is an effective system of medicine that promotes immune system adaptability and microbiome diversity instead of treatments that weaken immunity, and force organisms to become more virulent and aggressive.  A method of treatment that fosters adaptational health rather than antibiosis is present in homeopathy.

Homeopathic medicines have been shown to be effective across a wide range of infectious conditions,[74] both in clinical and pre-clinical (laboratory) settings[75] without damaging the immune system or the microbiome.

Ultra-highly diluted homeopathic medicines work by regulating the expression of genetic information at the cellular level.  They have been shown to significantly lower the risk of developing infection when used prophylactically before viral exposure.[76]

Homeopathy has been shown to be effective in the management of life-threatening sepsis (a systemic infection) when used adjunctively alongside conventional management in the intensive care unit (ICU) with significantly improved acute and long-term benefit.[77] Homeopathy has been found to be effective in numerous public health situations treating a range of both infectious[78],[79] and noninfectious conditions.[80]

Homeopathic medicines demonstrate significant viral modulating effects in multiple human pathogenic respiratory virus strains in-vitro, altering patterns of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that it may lower the risk of “cytokine storms”[81] while maintaining the ecology of the human microbiome.

Homeopathic medicines have been used to treat and prevent epidemic illnesses around the world: significantly reducing viral loads, improving lymphocyte counts, and providing physical, neurologic, immunologic benefits along with improved quality of life and increased survival in HIV/AIDs,[82] and reducing the occurrence of epidemic Leptospirosis.[83]

The science of understanding viral infections and the human virome[84] is in its infancy, at best, but it is abundantly clear that viral epidemics and pandemics have been worsened by practices that weaken, rather than strengthen the immune system-microbiome axis.

It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic now facing modern society has been aggravated by modern medical practices which weaken immunity, reduce diversity of the microbiome and overtreat common infections with antibiotics and antivirals.

Plans and hopes to rely on a vaccine solution to the COVID-19 issue are patently false, as our experience with influenza has already demonstrated.  Routine forced vaccination to prevent influenza is one reason why COVID-19 has proven to be so devastating, particularly for hospital personnel.

Hospital based health care workers are some of the most heavily vaccinated individuals in our society, many having been forced to vaccinate simply to keep their jobs.[85] Not only do these vaccines fail to promote permanent immunity, but their regular use promotes the occurrence of pandemic influenza.[86]  It also increases the risk of developing infection from other respiratory viruses, including the corona virus[87] through a phenomenon called “virus interference.”[88]

Modern medicine has provided many distinct advantages to the world, but it has failed with respect to the environment, the microbiome, the immune system and long-term health.

It is time for society to come to grips with the extremely “inconvenient truth” that modern medicine is creating a chronically ill society that is increasingly vulnerable to epidemic illness.

It is time to integrate other systems of medicine, including homeopathy, into a comprehensive system that augments the wonderful benefits of modern medicine but mitigates the dreadful amount of harm that it produces.

Failure to pay attention to the warning signs imbedded in the COVID-19 pandemic would be a grave mistake. The homeopathic approach, which supports the immune system-microbiome axis, must be fully evaluated and contemplated as one of the most viable and environmentally sound solutions to this crisis.

The remainder of this discussion focuses briefly on a practical approach to COVID-19.  A healthy lifestyle and diet in addition to appropriate (and individualized, when possible) homeopathic treatment may be helpful.

It is also important to avoid (as much as possible) unnecessary or hazardous medical therapies that might weaken the immune system or damage the microbiome making recovery more difficult, unless they are necessary to save life or limb.

The immune system is key to maintaining health and recovering from illness.  Inflammation is the primary mechanism that the innate immune system utilizes, and anything that interferes with it may impair the body’s ability to fight infection and fully recover.

Prevention:

A worldwide network of homeopathic practitioners have been working for months to share information and determine the Genus Epidemicus for this epidemic.  Whenever possible, each case should be carefully evaluated to determine the appropriate individual medicine that most closely suits it.  The following homeopathic medicines have shown the most promise both regionally and internationally, so far:  Bryonia alba, Arsenicum album, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Gelsemium sempervirens,  Camphora and Kali muriaticum.

Most of the current public health recommendations are designed to “flatten the curve,” to slow the spread of illness and protect those who are more vulnerable, but they cannot prevent infection.

Only complete isolation with air filtration and environmental sterilization could provide this, but once quarantine is broken, the problem would be compounded by significant loss of microbiome diversity, which would be a much more serious problem.  For most healthy people, getting infected with COVID-19 will result in a mild illness or no symptoms at all.  There may even be a long-term benefit to acquiring this infection.

Handwashing is a reasonable step to prevent transmission.  The use of antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers are generally unnecessary. [89] Plain soap and water are sufficient.

There are contradictory recommendations regarding the use of gloves and facemasks, but the latter are in extremely short supply and homemade versions will be inadequate to prevent transmission.

Social distancing has been highly recommended at this time.

Adequate rest and relaxation are critical and should be prioritized.  Manage stressful activities and work situations in a timely manner to ensure adequate time for recovery.

Regular moderate exercise and sun exposure are critical for immune system functioning.  Vitamin D supplementation does not impart the same benefits as natural sunlight.

Eat fresh whole foods with high nutritional value when possible. Avoid overeating.  Avoid “junk” foods, highly processed products, those with preservatives, and refined sugars.  Keep all flour-based foods to a minimum. Consume raw garlic.  Stay well hydrated but avoid over-hydration. Urine frequency, odor and color can be used to judge hydration status.  Prevent constipation with a high fiber diet and adequate fluids.

Eat naturally fermented foods every day which are high in pre- and pro-biotics.

Reminders when sick:

Get adequate rest.

Eliminate refined sugars and foods with a high glycemic index.

Discontinue all nonessential vitamin and mineral supplements for the duration of the acute illness. Utilize probiotics, pre-and pro-biotic containing foods (naturally fermented foods and brine). Eat lightly, or fast for short periods.

Stay hydrated but avoid over-hydration.

Do not try to lower fevers unless this is deemed medically necessary.  Postpone showers and baths since these frequently lead to more cooling.  Avoid becoming chilled.

Stay in contact with your primary care physician.  Remember that viral illnesses are normal and that most people who are otherwise healthy will benefit immunologically from these experiences (even though they may be unpleasant) in the long run. Infections help the immune system manage and reduce chronic inflammation and can provide significant long-term health benefits.  Try to avoid using unnecessary medicines that simply “manage symptoms.”  Stay in contact and consult closely with your homeopathic provider as needed.  If difficulties arise, or if you seem to be getting worse, make contact with a medical professional.  Pay attention to your instincts and ask for help if things are progressing unexpectedly.

About the Author:  Ronald D. Whitmont, MD is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, and Holistic and Integrative Medicine, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at New York Medical College, immediate past president of the American Institute of Homeopathy.  He maintains a practice of Classical Homeopathic Medicine in Rhinebeck and New York City, NY.

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About the author

Ronald Whitmont

Ronald Whitmont

Dr. Ronald Whitmont MD is a holistically oriented physician. He was trained and Board Certified in Internal Medicine in 1995, 2012 and Holistic Medicine in 2000. He maintains offices in New York City, and Rhinebeck, New York. His practice emphasizes a rational approach to restoring and maintaining health through safe, effective and gentle means. Dr. Whitmont utilizes homeopathic medicines through a classical system of medical therapeutics. His approach incorporates the best of medical scientific knowledge with a thorough grounding in proven holistic therapies. Dr. Whitmont is trained in, but does not practice Internal Medicine or Holistic Medicine. His practice is limited to Classical Homeopathic Medicine. Dr. Whitmont is the current president of the American Institute of Homeopathy. Visit Dr. Whitmont at his website: http://www.homeopathicmd.com/

3 Comments

  • Although I respect Dr. Whitmont’s homeopathic knowledge, he is wrong to suggest that the hypertension drug classes ACE inhibitors and ARB’s increase the risk of being infected with COVID-19. The issue is far from settled, and there is research being done that points to ARB’s actually helping with this virus. Please strive for accuracy.

    • Clear, detailed, logical and informative article, much praise from this MD Homeopath. Thanks for being such a clear eyed leader in our field….

      Michele Galante, MD

  • Dear Dr. Whitmont,
    I like your theory, but, there is one problem with it. The Covid19 mutated virus started in China, in one small corner of one province. If your theory was right then this would be regularly happening throughout the western world that relies on drugs to survive. It is not the reduced immunity that created the virus.
    QED,
    Kenneth

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