COVID-19 with Dr. James Lyons-Weiler: Rational Wellness Podcast 148
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Dr. James Lyons-Weiler discusses the COVID-19 global pandemic and what to do about it with Dr. Ben Weitz.
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2:50 This new Coronavirus is different than other coronaviruses, such as the ones that previously caused the SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in 2003 and the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak that started in 2012, in various ways, including the distinct spike protein that the virus uses to enter its host cell. These spike proteins bind to the ACE 2 receptors on the cell membrane and this allows the envelope to open and allow the virus to enter the cell and then make more viruses that spread from cell to cell. This virus has a 4-5 day incubation asymptomatic period and about 80% of people have mild symptoms. But about 14% require hospitalization and a lot of these need intensive care and help with breathing, including a ventilator. We have instituted social distancing, but we are at least 3 weeks behind the curve due to the fact that the number of positive cases are increasing dramatically, exponentially.
8:00 During the incubation period, you have the virus in your system and if tested, you should test positive. However, the test that the CDC came out with is only about 60% sensitive, which means that a lot of people are getting false negatives. The US appears to have made a mistake by not using the German test that the WHO offered the CDC and instead the CDC developed their own test that took several weeks of lost time and this may be because the CDC is more like a business corporation than a regulatory regulation.
9:39 The value of coronavirus testing at this point is not to shut the virus down. We have made our testing available too late to utilize the South Korean model where they were able to identify and isolate each case and all their contacts. But in the US at this point, it has spread too far to really contain it. Testing can help us to allocate resources and to let us know how much time we have to be able to get the supplies and resources that hospitals will need, like intensive care beds, protective equipment like masks, and ventilators. The point of social isolation like we are doing is to slow it down till we can increase our hospital capacity.
14:00 Even if we are asked to quarantine, like California’s Stay At Home rule, you can still go to the grocery store and the pharmacy and there is no reason why you need to horde 3 months of food. And the roof of your house is not going to blow off and the water supply will still work, so there is no need to stock up on water bottles. On the other hand, stocking up on food does drive the economy a bit.
14:55 In China they were able to flatten the curve through a combination of social distancing and therapeutics. And there is no vaccine in China and they have essentially stopped the spread of this virus. Forget about waiting for a vaccine and the first trial for a vaccine that is being tested in Seattle is using the spike protein, which is why it may have a high mortality rate, since some of the proteins are very similar to immune system proteins, so it might trigger autoimmune conditions. When this type of vaccine for SARS was tested on animals, there was a much higher mortality rate due to the autoimmune reaction.
19:40 In Italy we are seeing very high morbidity and mortality right now. One reason is that Italy has an older population and a lot of people smoke there. If you have a cardiovascular issue, which is more common in older folks, you have a 10% chance of mortality. If you have diabetes, also more common in older folks, you have 6% mortality rate.
22:30 Dr. Lyons-Weiler emphasized that we should contact our US Senators and Congresspeople to push for using convalescent plasma therapy as one of the strategies to help us get out of this COVID-19 crisis. You take blood out of a patient who has been sick and recovered and isolate the antibodies he has built up and these antibodies become a biological product and they can be given to front liners, the military, and the medical staff and they are given a dose of these antibodies, which gives passive immunity. Johns Hopkins University is currently conducting a clinical trial on this therapy with coronovirus patients. If all we do is social distancing for too long, it will completely destroy our US economy. And waiting for a vaccine will take too long, even if it works. We need to look at other therapeutics, like remdesivir, made by Gilead, which has some value against Ebola, chloroquine phosphate, and other antivirals. Also, the Chinese have been using high dose IV vitamin C, which appears to have a protective effect by reducing viremia, the number of viruses in your body, so you can’t transmit it.
26:30 There is a huge variance in mortality rates from one country to another. In Italy the mortality rate is 7.7%, whereas the fatality rate in Germany is 0.23%. Italians tend to be older and smoke more. Also the soil in Italy has less selenium since Germany was glaciated and deglaciated 16 to 18 times during the Pleistocene period, whereas Italy was not. Selenium supplementation might really benefit the Italians. Also, there are a slow and a fast version of the coronavirus with the fast version coming out of Hubei province in China, which is what might have ended up in Italy, and a slower version that resulted from mutations that came from the rest of China. There are also genetic factors. Smoking definitely increases your susceptibility by increasing the production of ACE 2 proteins. Also, if you are on ACE 2 inhibitors or ARBs for blood pressure (like Losartan, eprosartan, and irbesartan), these also make it easier for the coronavirus to enter your cells and increase your risk of a more severe response. Also, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen, also worsen your response. On the other hand, taking corticosteroids actually seem to help, which indicates the significant autoimmune component.
30:33 Unfortunately taking Tylenol (aceteminophen) might not be a good alternative to NSAIDs, as the health minister of France has recommended, since when you get an infection, your body produces cellular toxins and glutathione is crucial for your detoxification system to get rid of the toxins. Aceteminophen suppresses the production of glutathione. This is a good reason for taking either supplements of liposomal glutathione or N-acetyl cysteine, which is a precursor for glutathione. It also might make sense to take selenium, zinc, and glycyrrhizin (from licorice extract).
Dr. James Lyons-Weiler is a PhD researcher and the founder and CEO of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, a not-for-profit research institute, also known as IPAK. He is the author of three books, one on Ebola, Cures vs. Profits, The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism, which was based on over 2,000 peer-reviewed studies on autism. His website is IPAKnowledge.org.
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111.
Dr. Weitz: Hey, this is Dr. Ben Weitz, host of the Rational Wellness Podcast. I talk to the leading health and nutrition experts and researchers in the field to bring you the latest in cutting-edge health information. Subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast for weekly updates, and to learn more, check out my website, drweitz.com. Thanks for joining me and let’s jump into the podcast. Hello, Rational Wellness Podcasters. Thank you so much for joining me again today. For those of you who enjoy listening to the Rational Wellness Podcast, please go to Apple Podcasts and give us a ratings and review. If you’d like to see a video version of this podcast, please go to my YouTube page, weitzchiro, and if you go to my website, drweitz.com, you can find detailed show notes and a complete transcript.
Today, we will be discussing the coronavirus pandemic with Dr. James Lyons-Weiler. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the infection with the coronavirus that has made its way from a bat to humans in China and now has spread around the globe creating a global pandemic. Dr. James Lyons, is it Weiler or Weiler?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Weiler.
Dr. Weitz: Weiler, thank you. Sorry about that. Is the founding CEO of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, a not-for-profit research institute, also known as IPAK. He’s the author of three books, one on Ebola, another on Cures Vs. Profits, and a third on The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism which is based on over 2,000 peer-reviewed studies on autism. Thank you, Dr. Lyons-Weiler, for joining us today.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Thank you, Ben. It’s a pleasure to be part of your experience here on this planet.
Dr. Weitz: Thank you, and that’s definitely a good way to phrase it on a day like this when living in Los Angeles and trying to run a chiropractic practice, and people are afraid to come out of their house, and the level of fear, panic and anxiety seems to be rising by the minute. So, let…
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: You mean, you guys haven’t figured out all you have to do is put a shower curtain between you and your patient and you’re fine like in the movies?
Dr. Weitz: So, I thought we’d start with the most important question and that is what part does drinking Corona beers play in this coronavirus pandemic?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: I think it’s an essential part. You get the most clear-headed, rational thoughts that come to you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Corona either.
Dr. Weitz: Oh, okay. So, can you explain how this coronavirus… Because we’ve had other coronaviruses before. We had SARS and we had MERS. Can you explain how this coronavirus is different than the other coronaviruses?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Absolutely. On that topic, I’ll be talking about published research and not yet published research. So, in a published research, we know that there are genomic differences that’s at the genome level. And in important parts of important proteins, there are large differences. The spike protein seems to be quite distinct. The spike protein on the coronavirus is the protein that sits on the surface of the virus that allows entry. The virus uses it to enter into the host cell and this partic-
Dr. Weitz: Is that when we see those diagrams and those things sticking up?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Yup, exactly. Exactly, so those actually bind to a protein on the surface. It’s called an ACE2 molecule in this virus, and it then fuses to the cellular membrane, and then the envelope opens up and becomes part of the cellular membrane, and then the contents of the virus which is RNA is spilled into the cell. The RNA is seen by the cell as any other RNA and then it starts creating viral proteins. So, then you get a new virion or population of viruses in the cell, and then the cell bursts, and then the virus is spread from cell to cell. This particular virus has a spike protein that has a number of unique characteristics. There’s a new nature study that I just finished looking over this morning that shows that the spike protein has distinct… Well, it’s citing some previous literature. It has a virion cleavage site which we’ve known about for about two, three weeks but it has a number of distinct elements including one that appears to potentially help the virus target immune cells.
My own research, and this is the unpublished part of it because it’s still under peer review, my own research shows that there is a protein motif signature that is characteristic of this particular spike protein. There are four elements that we’re paying attention to, and it seems to have… And I want scientists to understand this. It has a truncated N-terminal domain in the spike protein, in the first part of the protein that’s unusual compared to other SARS and other related betacoronaviruses. And then it’s missing two other domains that appear to be present in all other coronaviruses that are related to this. And then it appears to have a gp40-like domain. I will say gp40-like domain because it is not a gp40 domain.
So, there are very specific molecular differences in the spike protein. It’s going to have a different molecular function, therefore, because the sequence determines the structure, which determines the function. With that, clinically then, this is a different virus because this virus has a four to five-day asymptomatic period. So, you can get infected and then four or five days later before you have your first symptoms. About 80% of people could be expected to have mild symptoms, but the people that do have serious symptoms, 14% need hospitalization and 66% need an ICU. So, we’re at the onset of the outbreak here. We are at least three weeks behind where we could have been with accurate testing, initially. We really, really missed the ball in accurate testing, but nevertheless, we’re in the exponential part of the curve. And during that exponential part of the curve, it’s a race between the ability to produce enough tests and the virus to spread. And so, now, we’ve enacted some pretty serious social distancing, if you’ve noticed. It’s impacting everyone’s lives now.
Dr. Weitz: Yes.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: And two months ago, I was saying that we should stop shaking hands. We should start using the Ebola fist bump and so on. We need to sanitize public places. We need to tell people that are not essential to work from home if they can. And had those policies been implemented then in a gentle way, we would have bought more time. But now, we’ve already reached the exponential curve. And in the exponential curve then, even 60% on complete quarantine with this virus will not lead to a shutdown. You can force quarantine 60% of the American population, it’ll spread.
Dr. Weitz: So, I’ve got a bunch of questions, but one question I wanted to ask to follow-up on the fact that you said there’s this incubation period. During that incubation period, if you get tested, would you potentially test positive or not until you become symptomatic?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Those high levels of viruses in the presymptomatic period or the asymptomatic period, unfortunately, the test that the CDC put out is maybe 60% sensitive, which means that there’s a lot of people that are going to be getting false negatives.
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Yeah, a lot of people are going to be given false confidence that they don’t have the virus and that’s why we’re where we are. I analyzed the CDC’s primer/probe sets and I found that a quarter of them actually amplified human proteins or likely to amplify human proteins as well as a viral protein which could… Unfortunately, the way they set up the test, it was best three out of fours amplification reactions as a diagnostic. So, if a person didn’t have… They basically needed three out of three, because one the primer/probe sets, that reaction was probably not going to lead to a true positive effort. And so, they said that there’s some contamination or something like that, but I sent this information to CDC, and then I sent it to the FDA and they showed great interest. The FDA showed great interest in what potentially could be wrong with this kit. Now, because we’re already in the exponential part of the curve, places like the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have announced that they’re making their own test. People are not waiting. We cannot wait for the CDC to distribute accurate testing. That’s what people have decided. I think it’s a clinically ethical thing to do, to want to know… The value of testing at this point is not to shut it down. Make no uncertain terms… Don’t be confused by this. If we have 100 or 200 cases or 1,000 cases, for every one case, there might be 80 to 100 more cases that are out there that we don’t know about. And so, there’s no way that the medical community is going to find all those people at this point. We’ve lost contact tracing. The asymptomatic period, contact tracing is not going to be useful. The only utility of testing at this point forward that I see would be expeditious use of resources, like ICUs. So, we need really accurate testing. We need ventilators. There are projections….
Dr. Weitz: How can we know where the curve is to decide upon strategies? Like how long are we going to do social distancing and quarantining or whatever you want to call it unless we really know what the numbers are, and do we even know to what extent the numbers are going up? Or just the fact that we’re testing all these people who maybe were already positive and …
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: I’ll take that question as a serious one. There are two countries that we could have followed the model of. One is South Korea. We cannot follow the South Korea model. It’s too late. We already reached the exponential point. They did expert contact tracing with online information systems that were really exquisite. They did testing, testing, testing. They had it in place in time. It’s too late for us to have a serious impact in terms of slowing down the spread of this because we have… For every case that you see right now, that person was also… Four to five people five days ago were also infected along with that one person. So, we’re looking at, of the number of cases that we have, we maybe may know 20% of what we have.
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: So, because we don’t have the contact tracing combined in parity with the clinical testing and the test that people are being shipped is not accurate, that is …
Dr. Weitz: How did that happen? Why is there such a massive screw-up on the testing? Why were we so late with the testing? Why didn’t we take the World Health Organization test, and what’s the screw-up at the CDC?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Unfortunately, CDC is more like a business corporation than it is a regulatory agency. They have a not for profit that pharmaceutical companies donate over $27 million to every year in the name of doing good for humanity. However, the World Health Organization offered the CDC the German’s test, the test from Germany, and they declined and that cost us a valuable, incredibly valuable, two weeks. And I was hammering on, “No, we need to get the testing now. We need to get the testing now.” The other country whose model that we… Where do we know where we are in the curve? Well, we know we’re exponential. We know we’re only seeing maybe 20% of the cases that are actually residents in the country. We don’t know where they are. We don’t know who they are. They include medical staff right now. They include nurses. They include the doctors and so on. They include taxi cab drivers. They could be anyone. And the point is, not to scare people, but China did not wait for a vaccine. China used social distancing. They put the people at home and if you broke quarantine, you were arrested. That’s why you saw people arrested. People say, “Oh, my God. That can’t ever happen here.” Believe me, every governor in every state will prosecute you if you’re under mandatory quarantine and you’re found to violate the quarantine. You will be arrested. You will be tried. You could be fined and put in prison, absolutely. Okay? So-
Dr. Weitz: But to this point, we’ve never had mandatory quarantine, right?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: I think San Francisco is now pretty close to that. Pretty close to where everybody is supposed to stay at home, right?
Dr. Weitz: Well, my son’s in San Francisco right now going to college. So, they’re basically told they’re supposed to stay at home except for important things like going to the grocery store.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Okay, right. So, we’ll get to that. Right. So, a quarantine does mean that you have to have three months of food in your house, right? It means it’s a good idea to have a week or two, but here’s the deal. China shut this down.
Dr. Weitz: And we’re not going to… The water supply is not going to be jeopardized.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: The roof of your house is not going to blow off. It’s not a hurricane. You’re going to have electricity. Okay? The wastewater treatments are still going to work. Okay? So, the utilities will all be there but in China, they shut this…
Dr. Weitz: So, stop stocking up on water bottles.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: If it makes you feel better, there’s that aspect of it. If you like to see 20 cans of sardines in your pantry, go for it if it makes you feel better. You’re not hurting anybody by doing that. So, you’re actually driving the economy a little bit. That’s an actually very serious point. There’s kind of a silver lining here.
Dr. Weitz: No, I know. The supermarkets are booming right now.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: So, in China, they shut this down through a combination of therapeutics and social distancing. They didn’t just use social distancing, and there’s no vaccine in China. They shut it down. And let me show you a curve. Okay? China was doing this. And we’re now talking about extending the curve out, flattening the curve out so that the medical community has time to be able to prepare to handle it. China’s curve went just like this. They ended it.
Dr. Weitz: I know. I just looked at it on the map. Can we trust those statistics?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Yes. Yes, we can. The doctors were taking their… Yes, we can. The doctors were taking, the nurses were taking their masks off. People are showing up in the streets. You’re going to see a video over the next few days or next week of Wuhan itself returning to normalcy. And that’s what we want because we cannot afford an extended social distancing. It will destroy our economy to maintain social distancing. And there’s no promise that the vaccine that’s being tried right now in Seattle is going to show the safety profile that it needs to. I’m very, very skeptical that the animal studies… They skipped the animal studies and they went right to human trials. The problem with that is that the animal studies in every other SARS-like, MERS-like vaccine that used the spike protein, the animals getting the vaccine when they were challenged with the virus after the vaccine had worst clinical outcomes, higher morbidity, higher mortality. They had immunopathology in their lungs. They had hepatitis. They had serious issues and I think it’s an autoimmune reaction, that you get sensitized to it by the vaccine, and then you get challenged by the virus.
So, I did a deep dive into the epitopes that are in the virus in SARS-COV2. And the deep dive that I did showed that out of the 37 proteins that I studied, all of them except for six had immunogenic peptides. So, there’s six of them that won’t be useful in a vaccine. Out of all of those that had immunogenic peptides, all of them except for one had a match to a human protein, and a third of those matches were two immune system proteins. So, that’s probably why these animals had a worse outcome because their own immune system was being attacked by their own immune system after they were challenged by the second virus. It’s a two-hit hypothesis. People are calling it immune enhancement, which it’s a misnomer. It’s a gross misnomer. We’re changing the terminology to pathologic priming where the first exposure to the virus sets you up for worse outcomes whether it’s through clinical exposure. You get a double infection and you get the SARS virus this year. You get another SARS coronavirus next year, whatever the second exposure is. And I think that probably explains why the mortality was so, so, so high initially in the Hubei Province and in Wuhan because the people there had been exposed to coronaviruses for years. And yet, the national vaccine program that was mandatory, a widespread vaccine program, only got started on December 1st. So, you’ve got people that are exposed to this virus while their bodies still has adjuvants from the vaccines in them. In many cases, multiple adjuvants and so…
Dr. Weitz: Wait a minute. So, starting in December, they were vaccinated with which vaccine?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: They just started a national mandatory vaccine program. It was to do…
Dr. Weitz: For this novel coronavirus?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: No, no, no, no, no. No, just for vaccination programs for the pathogens.
Dr. Weitz: So, did they get immunized against SARS?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: No, they don’t have the SARS. Not to my knowledge. That was my initial concern. So China, a company called Sinovac, actually in the 2000s did a vaccine safety phase one trial on humans. They did a vaccine trial on humans. I think they had 45 participants. I’ve never seen a phase two or a phase three, but my initial suspicion, because the mortality was so high, I couldn’t believe that a super coronavirus could possibly lead to such high mortality and morbidity. And people are saying we can’t trust from China what’s going on. No, it’s real and if it’s that high, what possibly could have caused it. And I suspect that perhaps the Chinese had on December 1st started a secret phase two or three clinical trial in Hubei Province with a SARS coronavirus, setting people up unbeknownst to them, for this pathogenic priming a.k.a. immune enhancement.
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: I’m not sure if that’s real or not, but I know they didn’t do that in Italy. So, Italy has high morbidity. If you want to talk about the risk factors, about who’s most likely to get truly sick and die here, there’s a linear relationship between your age and your risk of serious illness, critical illness, and death. If you’re above the age…
Dr. Weitz: Is that mainly because older people a) are more likely to have cardiovascular or respiratory problems, and because they’re more likely to have immune issues?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: I think that’s probably a big part of it because if you have a cardiovascular issue, you have like a 10% chance of mortality. If you have diabetes, you have a 6% chance of mortality. What are we doing here in the United States with such a high rate of what we call metabolic syndrome? We’re sitting ducks for this virus. So, we absolutely have to shut it down or we’re going to see mass mortality… Like 6% of people, people who even have…
Dr. Weitz: Well, if you don’t believe in exercise and you’re just going to sit around and eat Big Macs and tweet all day, then there you are.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Absolutely. Think of all the people that you know with diabetes and imagine 6% of them getting this virus and dying. That’s a serious amount of morbidity and mortality. There are other underlying conditions. People that get the virus one time can get infected again, and it appears that they can suffer from myocarditis and die, some of them. And we don’t know if that’s due to direct effect…
Dr. Weitz: So, you’re saying you can get it again the second time?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Unfortunately, some people appear to. Yeah, there’s multiple reports from multiple countries….
Dr. Weitz: Because, theoretically, once you get a virus, then your body builds antibodies to it, right?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Correct. And remember, I just talked about how there’s this pathogenic priming.
Dr. Weitz: Cross-reactivity to your own immune cells.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Right, so the patients in the ward next to you actually… If you had checked me with the SARS-coronavirus-2 and then I’m sick for a live one, and then I’m sick for a week or so, and then you isolate the virus after I’ve been sick for a week or so, you’re going to see a different virus. There’s huge amount of selection to adapt to my immune system. Plus, this corona virus is always recombined. If there’s more than two types of coronavirus in the same animal or the same body of a human, the very nature of their transcriptional process means if you had one cell infected with two types, they recombine. You get a new virus. So, we don’t really know what’s going on, but we know that there’s probably a huge autoimmune component. So, if you have cellular myocarditis because you’ve got cellular infiltrates like eosinophils in other aspects of the immune system, you could end up with a very serious death rate of people who get a secondary infection. And that’s why I am proposing very, very strongly, and we’re about to go huge with this, that everyone should contact their congressional representatives. I’m talking federal, not state, and everyone should contact their senators and say that we need the CDC, the NIH and the FDA to get behind convalescent plasma therapy now. There’s going to be so many people that survive from this. They’re walking around with antibodies …
Dr. Weitz: Okay. Can you explain what convalescent plasma therapy is?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Absolutely. So, let’s say that I had the sickness and I get well again. I have the antibodies. So, I donate a liter of my blood and then you isolate the antibodies, and then those antibodies become a biological product. That biological product is screened for other viruses to make sure that I’m not carrying HIV or something. And then if you’re a front liner, or if you’re in the military, or if you’re an EMT or a medical staff, you’re given a dose of those antibodies. It gives you a form a passive resistance and it works. There’s great… Ten out of 10 patients in a recent study on this came out great. Ian Lipkin, who’s a world renowned virologist, has announced that John Hopkins University is entering into a clinical trial. I think we need everybody to ask for 50 clinical trials now in all 50 states. Most of the money that’s afforded to the CDC, the $8 billion is allegedly, I guess, going towards distribution of tests and vaccines. And the problem is, if we wait for two months, people are losing their houses. People are losing their jobs. People… We’ve only been under partial… kind of like a hint of social distancing for two days and the world’s falling apart. How are we supposed to do this for two months or let alone 18 months? We cannot. It will destroy our economy to wait for a vaccine. Absolutely.
Dr. Weitz: And by the way, I believe that that phase one trial that’s going on is going to continue for like a year or something, right?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Yeah, it’s absolutely ludicrous and it’s unbelievable. I’m not going to be too critical, but it’s unbelievable that knowing the plasma convalescent therapy is an option, that the bulk of the money is going towards things like testing when we need to shut down… Let me make the following prediction. The way that this epidemic, this outbreak in the United States, this pandemic will end, it will not involve a vaccine. It will end through a combination of social distancing and therapeutics. There are antivirals that pharma will be asked to start mass-producing, like remdesivir and chloroquine phosphate which is an anti-malaria drug, and others. There are supplements that are very important that people have, like selenium. If you’re selenium-deficient, the virus can enter your cells more easily.
High-dose vitamin C, the Chinese used that as well. They used vitamin C and it appears to have a protective effect by reducing viremia, the number of viruses in your body, so you can’t transmit it. It’s very, very important that we understand that this epidemic, this outbreak, will end through a combination of social distancing and therapeutics. Social distancing alone will just destroy our economy, and we’re not going to let 20% of our elderly people die. We’re not going to let 6% to 45% of Americans with diabetes die. And we’re not going to let 10% of people on ACE2 inhibitors with cardiovascular disease die. So, the way that this is going to end, I’m predicting right here and now, is that people are going to say, “No, I can’t do this anymore. I’m going to lose everything that I’ve built. I’m going to lose everything I’ve saved up 20 years of my effort for. Please give us therapeutics, and we don’t have time for a vaccine. We don’t have time to wait for it.”
Dr. Weitz: Right. It’s interesting the big variance in fatality rates. I looked at the Worldometer.info website and the fatality rate in Italy is 7.7%, whereas the fatality rate in Germany is 0.23%. That’s a freaking amazing contrast.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: It is. So, look at factors like smoking in Germany compared to smoking in Italy. Look at the age distributions. There’s a lot of older Italians because of their Mediterranean lifestyle, the diet. That mysterious thing that keeps Italians alive older, right? There’s these factors that play into it.
Also, look at the nutrients in the soil. So, how much selenium is in Italian soil and how much selenium is in the vegetables that they eat compared to that in Germany? I don’t know. I know Germany was glaciated and then deglaciated during the last… 16 or 18 times through the Pleistocene. I don’t think they made it past the Alps. I think Italy was always… What you have in Italy was there throughout. They’ve probably been flooded and reflooded. So, they might have a very different soil in Italy. They might benefit from selenium. There might be a genetic component too.
So, there’s a genetic component in the virus. We think that there’s two types of the virus. There’s the slow and the fast. There’s S and the L. The one that’s more deadly apparently is the one that was clustered in Hubei, the ones in Hubei Province in China. The story goes from the Chinese that once it got out into the rest of China, there was another virus that came about with a mutation and that it’s less lethal. That’s exactly what we expect to happen. Okay? So, they should type the virus in Italy and see if it’s the more dangerous type. If that’s true, then we know, “Okay, we’re dealing with a more dangerous type.” So, you need to type the virus. And then there’s also genetics in people. So, the human genetics plays a role here too in terms of susceptibility to these factors.
Smoking, I mentioned smoking. Right now, all Americans everywhere, quit smoking everything. Don’t let your smoking habits or your pleasure that you get from smoking outweigh the fact that this virus is more likely to enter your cells if you smoke because smoking causes increased production of availability of ACE2. If you’re on ACE2 inhibitors, ACE receptors I should say. So, there’s receptors on the cell and if you’re on an ACE inhibitor for blood pressure, then you’re inhibiting the ACE2 molecules that usually go into the receptor and by doing that then, you’re freeing up all the receptors to be available for the virus to enter cells. So, you’re going to get more rapid viral growth and more viremia, more…
Dr. Weitz: So, ACE inhibitors increase your risk. I also just read that one of the officials in France today came out and said that taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories also increases the ACE receptors.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Right, and the fact that steroidal treatments seem to help really points to an autoimmune component to the base, the root cause, of this disease. We see a cytokine storm. That, to me, is an outcome of an autoimmune. It’s in a vicious cycle, cytokine storm. But to me, if you start to see cytokines released, that’s a signal that you have an autoimmune attack going on for the most part. Or a really extensive, rapid viral attack. But the autoimmune component, because if you use steroids, that tends to actually modulate the immune system, so you might be seeing the fact that the steroidal anti-inflammatories were safer, but the other thing… Unfortunately, the French also recommended paracetamol. They recommended what we call “Tylenol.” And I think that’s a big problem, because you need your glutathione to be able to fight off infections, you need your glutathione to… Because when you get an infection, your body starts producing cellular toxins. The cellular toxins are strange-formed, misformed, misfolded proteins that your body doesn’t… They see it as foreign and so, your body doesn’t know to attack with the immune system or what. So, if you have glutathione, it gets tagged. It goes to the liver and it gets removed. That’s a much better route and if you have… Of course, if you have a very serious fever of 104.5 or so, you’ve got to get that fever under control because the fever itself can start denaturing critical proteins. But the medical community in France did a service by saying, “Watch out for ibuprofen. Go for steroidal if you can.” I think they don’t what they’re looking at is autoimmune.
Dr. Weitz: Right, yeah. Well, it’s one of the reasons why we’ve been recommending a nutrient known as N-acetyl cysteine because it’s a precursor of glutathione and it’s been shown to have some activity against viruses.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Yeah, absolutely. So, I’m taking NAC. I’ll tell people what I’m taking. I’m taking N-acetyl cysteine. I’m taking selenium.
Dr. Weitz: How much NAC are you taking?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: I don’t talk doses because I’m not a medical doctor. Right? Then it becomes like, “Okay, wait a minute.” But people can look at the package and they could figure out for themselves.
Dr. Weitz: Well, you don’t have to recommend it. You can just tell us what you’re taking. I can tell you that I take 900 milligrams of NAC twice a day.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: That’s fantastic. Yeah, so how’s your selenium?
Dr. Weitz: I also take 200 to 300 micrograms of selenium and I take 45 to 60 milligrams of zinc partially because I have a…
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Zinc is important.
Dr. Weitz: gene that makes it more difficult to absorb zinc and…
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Yeah, so I also take glycyrrhizin which is a licorice extract.
Dr. Weitz: Licorice. Correct, yup.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Right? And these are supposed to be helpful in some way although I’m pretty…
Dr. Weitz: Licorice is also really good for adrenal support and any signs of stress and anxiety. That’s not a bad idea either.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Absolutely. So, what we’re talking about is licorice root extract. Don’t go out and buy Twizzlers and think you’re going to save the world. It’s not going to do it for you.
Dr. Weitz: And also don’t DGL, which is deglycyrrhizinated licorice. The one thing you have to look out for with glycyrrhizinic acid is it can raise your blood pressure. So, monitor your blood pressure.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: There you go. Yeah, so when we’re looking at the clinical, the epidemiology of this thing, this is a fascinating moment in the history of epidemiology in the United States as well, because I’m seeing kind of an inversion. I’m seeing the people who are skeptical of allopathy looking at it more like, “Okay, this is a pattern at the population level.” And I’m seeing now epidemiologists really super focused on the molecular level. It’s a really strange kind of inversion; whereas in other aspects of medicine, I see the people that are concerned about toxins in vaccines or that kind of thing really more focused on the molecular end and doctors are saying, “No, the epidemiology shows there’s nothing there at the population level.” What about the individual, right? So, we don’t have to rehash that whole thing, but it’s really interesting because I think there’s a teachable moment here, a really big learning opportunity here where we argue a lot about causality when it comes to like vaccine adverse events. We argue about, “Well, it’s just a correlation.” Here, we really don’t have the luxury of a randomized prospective clinical trial with infecting people with the virus and then saying, “Okay, so therefore, we know because it was a saline controlled, placebo-controlled, double-blinded randomized placebo clinical trial of virus infection.” And yet, we know so much about how this virus is affecting people by observational data. So, it’s kind of a fascinating moment in time where we can see people struggling to understand mechanisms of disease, the mechanisms of pathophysiology from a virus using the tools that we’re restricted to use in terms of a vaccine injury. Yet, they’re somehow able to sort it out and come out with pretty strong statements like you probably shouldn’t use ibuprofen, this kind of thing. Right?
Dr. Weitz: Right. Are any of the antiviral medications like the one from Gilead liable to play a role in this?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Absolutely. So, in addition to the plasma therapy, we absolutely have to… You said earlier if you were this omniscient or powerful, mighty person. If I was president of the United States right now, I would do a press conference, sit in the Oval Office, and I would ask on television for pharmaceutical companies to ramp productions of antivirals for the US Military, for front line defenders, the first responders, and for families and coworkers that have it. So, we’re talking about remdesivir. We’re talking about chloroquine phosphate. There’s actually an expert opinion piece, a consensus panel out of China that said, “These are the treatments that we use that worked.” So, we know what works. If we don’t do antivirals and if we don’t do the plasma therapy, we’re going to see the curve extend out for months and months and months, and it’ll destroy our economy.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, there’s no way we can survive months and months and months. So, what’s your prediction? How long are we going to be involved in the social isolation thing we’re doing?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Great question. If after you watch this podcast, you find your senator’s email and you find your congressional representative’s email, and you find their phone number, both the Washington office and the local office, and you email both of them, both types of people. You’ve got two senators and a certain number of congressional reps. Email all of them, I should say, and call both offices and say that you want therapeutics added to the agenda. Tell them you want plasma convalescent therapy and antivirals added to the agenda as the first step of defense to shutting down social distancing. That’s what we need. We need to promote that this is a… It’s readily available. We can do this now and like I said, China took their curve which was going up like this, they did social distancing, added antivirals and had convalescent, and it dropped to zero. The number of new cases remarkably went from like thousands to 46. Right? Because they…
Dr. Weitz: It sounds like probably adding some IV vitamin C and maybe some IV glutathione wouldn’t be a bad idea as part of the mix as well.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: So, for treatment, IV therapy would be great. If you have access to an IV system, you could do IV vitamin C. That probably would have the same kind of antiviral effect, right? The glutathione, absolutely. Look up on the internet how to enhance your glutathione. In America, we are so proud of our independent. We don’t want to turn to the government to do the right thing, but take care of yourself. Increase your glutathione intake, take everything out of your lifestyle that’s depleting your glutathione, and be as healthy as you can. Get sunshine when you can. Get out in the sunshine every day if you can. Get the exercise you’re talking about. But we’re not turning to the government for support. We’re turning to the government to tell them, “Don’t make a mistake. Don’t do the wrong thing.” And this is why I think we need to bring civics back into the classroom, because one thing that I hope that my sons learn from me other than the science that they know and the love… They fell in love with science. They’re both on route to be scientists. The one thing that I hope that they got from me, and I know that they did because I can see what they’re doing, is that you don’t just have the right to participate in your own government in the United States. You have a moral obligation and responsibility to be part of your own governments. You can’t just sit back on your couch and wait for somebody else to make the decisions. Right? So, even if you know nothing about coronavirus, the more you learn… This week, read everything that you can. Read all my blog articles at jameslyonsweiler.com and watch all of the videos at WWDNYK Studios on YouTube about coronavirus.
There’s another guy I would say… You guys need to watch this John Campbell out of the UK. This man is doing a saint’s job since the beginning. He’s been tracking the numbers, and he’s calm and he’s not excitable like me. I’m excitable and agitate-able, but he’s calm, grandfatherly. He will make you feel like the world is not ending, but he also from time to time gets… When he gets emotional, he’s such a gentleman. He turns the camera off. That’s how he does. When he starts getting upset and angry at the World Health Organization for not declaring a pandemic, he stops talking and turns off the camera. And I have no idea what he does once the camera is off. But John Campbell, this guy is great. And I believe he should be nominated for some serious Nobel Peace Prize or something like that, because he’s a PhD nurse that’s been teaching the public what coronavirus is as well as he can. There’s sometimes when he speaks that I’m like, “That’s not exactly right,” but he’s excellent. John Campbell, he’s a hero of mine, for sure.
Dr. Weitz: So, we’re going to have to continue with the social isolation until we see that curve start to go down? Or are we just going to say, “We’re getting tired of this and…”
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: There’s no way that they’re going to let, like I said, 20% of everybody over the age of 60 get this virus. So, it’s not going to happen, and they’re not going to let 6% of diabetics die. They’re not going to let 10% of people with cardiovascular disease die.
So, the only option that we have one way or the other, whether it’s because I say it, or you say it, or because the rest of society wakes up that we need therapies. We need therapeutics, and until we clamor and really… If you want to go back to work, you want to go make some money, call your congressman and your senator. And tell them that you think therapeutics are 100% necessary to shutting this down now.
Dr. Weitz: I, personally, think that there’s huge numbers of small businesses, there’s no way they can hold out more than four weeks.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Yeah. Well, some are folding right now.
Dr. Weitz: No, I know that.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: So, be a decent citizen. People that are stockpiling food, that’s fine. But I hope that you bought non-perishables because if you’ve got three months’ worth of food and they are successful in shutting this down next month, you’re good for the rest of the year, but be a good citizen. The restaurants that you used to frequent, they still will deliver. They still allow carryout. So, use the restaurants and keep the money flowing.
And by the way, if you’re in quarantine, there’s some psychological advice too. Do things that… Look at it as a staycation. Don’t look at it as the end of the world. We’re such type A Americans. We don’t know how to relax, “Oh, my God, I’ve got to be home with my wife and kids for so long.” Or if you’re a wife, “I’ve got to be home with my husband and kids for so long.” Or if you’re a kid, “Oh, my God, I’ve got to be with my parents for so long.” Take a moment and reconnect as a family. Get out the board games that you always wish that you taught your kids how to play. Monopoly, it’s fun. The Game of Life, it’s fun. Okay, have fun. If you’re kind of isolated and alone, take that moment, take the next eight weeks or whatever it’s going to be to learn a new language. I use Duolingo and I’ve learned German using Duolingo. I have no financial relationships or financials to disclose, but you can learn a new language, learn a new musical instrument, learn some new life skill. If you always wanted to master that one recipe that your grandmother used, it doesn’t matter. Take up gardening. Do something that’s healthy and productive. How about those projects around the house that you’ve been delaying and you don’t want to get to? So, there’s a lot that you can do and take advantage of this time and still feel like, “Okay, I…”
Dr. Weitz: Read a book. Read one of Dr. Lyons-Weiler’s books.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Oh, thanks for bringing that up, Ben. I appreciate that.
Dr. Weitz: You can always gang watch the Rational Wellness Podcast.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: That’s right. Here’s The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism, which I hear is a sleeper. There’s 1,000 studies on autism. Cures vs. Profits for you, you want to learn some things about. Yeah, there’s 16 or 18 different topics, I think, in here on biomedical research and what makes legitimate biomedical objective research and what makes it not legitimate. It’s got things like why do we know that the hormone receptors on breast cancers will help us determine which chemotherapy is likely to be effective? How did that come about? It tells the history of the things that we take for granted, but it goes also into some controversial areas, which I’m proud to say I didn’t shy away from.
ADHD, for instance. While the pharmaceutical companies were saying, “It’s genetic, there’s nothing you can do,” I was writing a chapter, It’s Their Brain, Not Yours. And I go right deep into science about what’s right and wrong with the studies, about the things that we think that we know from biomedical research. And yeah, the podcasts, what we do not yet know. Studios, it’s called Unbreaking Science, and we get into a lot topics that I think people find really interesting. And also, if you’ve always wanted to create your own outlet… People need outlets. They want to be heard. Do what Ben here is doing. Dr. Weitz is doing this. Get out there and do your own podcast if you always wanted to do it. We need to hear from people that have creative and good ideas.
Dr. Weitz: Awesome. I think that’s a good way to wrap this podcast interview.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Right on, thank you.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. Thank you, Dr. Lyons-Weiler. I think this is super timely. I’m going to definitely get this up tonight.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: All right, thank you. Also, please stop by ipaknowledge.org if you could and check out what IPAK is doing. That’s the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge. We’ve been up and running since 2015, doing research in the public interest without profit motive. No connection to the government except for regulatory, and no connection to any corporate finances. So, take it easy, you guys.
Dr. Weitz: Are you guys looking for donations?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Oh, absolutely. We’re 100% funded by the public and we’re almost done with our 501(c)(3) application. So, we’re not yet a charity, but we’re not for profit in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Weitz: Cool and your books are available through?
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: I would recommend people go to independent booksellers near you and if they don’t have it on the shelf, ask for it because they look my name, James Lyons-Weiler. Because when they order one, then they tend to order multiple ones. But also, we want to keep local businesses in business. Amazon’s got enough money.
Dr. Weitz: I’m with you on that.
Dr. Lyons-Weiler: Right on. All right. Well, thanks. Thanks for having me.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. Thank you, James.
Could Dr. Lyon provide more information on his opinions regarding the ACE2 receptor and ACE inhibitors or ARBS? The NEJM is now arguing that these medicines are beneficial to reduce symptomatology, but it is hard to understand why, since it is counterintuitive and only speculative. Not to mention that most patients are taken off these medications once hospitalized because of concern over hypotension or actual hypotension. Recent studies on hospitalized patients showed a marginal benefit in patients who were not prescribed these medications at all in mortality data but more review into how many patients who take ace inhibitors or arbs are developing more severe disease is still unknown. Why would researchers be confounding the subject by hypothesizing on counterintuitive possibilities that have no substantive studies to back them up?