Asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic infection with COVID-19 can result in silent transmission to large numbers of individuals, resulting in expansion of the pandemic with a global increase in morbidity and mortality. New ways of screening the general population for COVID-19 are urgently needed along with novel effective prevention and treatment strategies.
A hypothetical three-part prevention, diagnostic, and treatment approach based on an up-to-date scientific literature review for COVID-19 is proposed. Regarding diagnosis, a validated screening questionnaire and digital app for COVID-19 could help identify individuals who are at risk of transmitting the disease, as well as those at highest risk for poor clinical outcomes. Global implementation and online tracking of vital signs and scored questionnaires that are statistically validated would help health authorities properly allocate essential health care resources to test and isolate those at highest risk for transmission and poor outcomes. Second, regarding prevention, no validated protocols except for physical distancing, hand washing, and isolation exist, and recently ivermectin has been published to have anti-viral properties against COVID-19. A randomized trial of ivermectin, and/or nutraceuticals that have been published to support immune function including glutathione, vitamin C, zinc, and immunomodulatory supplements (3,6 Beta glucan) could be beneficial in preventing transmission or lessening symptomatology but requires statistical validation. Third, concerning treatment, COVID-19 induced inflammation and “cytokine storm syndrome” with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)/Macrophage Activation Syndrome (MAS) have resulted in extreme morbidity and mortality in those with certain comorbidities, secondary to “acute respiratory distress syndrome” (ARDS) and multiorgan dysfunction with disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Deficiency in red blood cell, serum and alveolar glutathione has been published in the medical literature for ARDS, as well as viral and bacterial pneumonias, resulting from increased levels of free radical/oxidative stress. A randomized controlled trial of blocking NF-κB and cytokine formation using glutathione precursors (N-acetyl-cysteine [NAC] and alpha lipoic acid) and PO/IV glutathione with associated anti-viral effects should be performed, along with an evaluation of Nrf2 activators (curcumin, sulforaphane glucosinolate) which have been scientifically proven to lower inflammation. Since high mortality rates from sepsis induced DIC due to COVID-19 infection has also been associated with thrombotic events and elevated levels of D-dimer, randomized controlled trials of using anticoagulant therapy with heparin is urgently required. This is especially important in patients on ventilators who have met certain sepsis induced coagulopathy (SIC) criteria. The use of acetazolamide with or without sildenafil also needs to be explored with or without heparin, since increased oxygen delivery to vital organs through prevention of thrombosis/pulmonary emboli along with carbonic anhydrase inhibition may help increase oxygenation and prevent adverse clinical outcomes.
A three-part prevention, diagnostic, and treatment plan is proposed for addressing the severe complications of COVID-19. Digital monitoring of symptoms to clinically diagnose early exposure and response to treatment; prevention with ivermectin as well as nutritional therapies that support a healthy immune response; treatment with anti-inflammatory therapies that block NF-κB and activate Nrf2 pathways, as well as novel therapies that address COVID-19 pneumonia and ARDS with DIC including anticoagulation and/or novel respiratory therapies with or without acetazolamide and sildenafil. These three broad-based interventions urgently need to be subjected to randomized, controlled trials.
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.