In 1981 five young, healthy gay men contracted a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP).  Simultaneously, reports of unusually aggressive cancer, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, crossed the wire from San Francisco and New York.

Found to have extremely compromised immune systems, most of the early victims of this “new” disease succumbed to horrific, overwhelming infectious agents.

Fear and panic struck not only the gay community but those of us on the medical frontlines as well.  Not only did we did not know what we were dealing with, how to treat, or even contain it, we next heard reports of health care personnel, becoming infected with what would be known as the “AIDS” virus.

Back home, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, at the time, I was one of the few physicians who did not hesitate to treat these individuals.  My two best friends and a nurse at our local hospital who accidentally stuck herself with a needle while treating an infected patient were so afflicted. No one, other than myself a couple of others, would even talk to these folks.

We had no highly active antiretroviral drug cocktails at the time.  We had no pre-exposure prophylaxis.  While waiting for these breakthroughs, which did not appear until 1996 and 2010 respectively, we advocated good hygiene, an organic diet, and any number of antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory protocols.(1)

One such discovery, low dose naltrexone (LDN), came directly out of the early HIV experiences of several New York City physicians. LDN binds to opioid receptors blocking the absorption of endorphin, our body’s pain moderator. Our brain compensates by increasing its natural endorphin production resulting in increased endorphin levels. LDN is essentially a “runner’s high” in pill form. (2)

I bring this up as the crisis de jour, Covid-19 plays havoc with the physical, mental, and economic health of our country and world.  Reports over the past several days indicate a combination of Azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine eradicates this “new strain” of coronavirus.(3)With fingers crossed, we shall see.

We agree with the CDC warning against falling prey to scams and “snake oil” salesmen.  We disagree that nothing is available to strengthen the immune system.

From previous epidemics and infestations, we know that social distancing, washing your hands regularly, and avoiding touching your face, mouth, and eyes minimizes contamination.

Diet is always at the forefront of any self-improvement program.  Limiting inflammatory foods, starting with the nightshades, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and most peppers, for 3-5 days, one at a time, followed by a reintroduction phase while paying attention to any adverse reactions, either in the GI tract or behavior-wise is an easy first step.  Gluten, dairy, eggs, and corn are other food groups that those with compromised immune systems show reactions. If you do have an adverse outcome, that is a food group to eliminate.

We’ve had successes with over the counter antiviral agents, including lemon balm, and Cats claw, elderberry, and Oregon grape.  A reminder, though, like HIV in the early ’80s, this coronavirus is new. We have no real-time experience treating it.

Olive leaf extract, zinc, celery juice, cucumber juice, and Vitamin D3 10,000 IU for ten days, along with 100,000 IU of Vitamin A, are advocated in several naturopathic protocols.  Quercetin, found in grapes, raspberries, broccoli, onions, apples, and tomatoes (and cannabis), appears to have an affinity for Coronavirus enzyme receptors.  Andrographis, a broad-spectrum antiviral, diminishes viral loads, and inflammatory cytokines.

N-acetyl cysteine, intravenous glutathione, and high dose Vitamin C improves energy, detoxifies the liver and provides a triple threat to viral replication.  Ozone and ultraviolet light are other alternative interventions.

Lastly, we’ve gleaned from the 2002 SARS and 2006 coronavirus outbreak literature a peptide, thymosin alpha 1, which we use routinely for its immune-boosting, antiviral, antibiotic, antifungal, and hair restoration properties significantly reduces viral titer values in lungs.(4)

If nothing else, relaxation techniques, meditation, tai chi, and yoga come to mind, calm the nerves, reduce serum cortisol, our stress hormone, and take our mind temporarily off the crisis at hand.

In summary, until we have a “cure,” or the virus burns itself out, we recommend:

  1. Social distancing-CDC Prevention Guidelines
  2. Relaxation Techniques
    1. Meditation, tai chi, yoga
    2. Read!
    3. Break the TV-Stay away from 24-hour cable news shows
  3. Anti-inflammatory Diet:
    1. Pay attention to:
      1. Nightshades-tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers (black pepper is OK)
      2. Gluten, dairy, eggs, and corn
    2. Basic Support
      1. Vitamins A, C, and D
      2. Quercetin and Andrographis
    3. IV Support
      1. Vitamin C
      2. Glutathione
    4. Drugs
      1. Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin (if indicated)
    5. Peptides
      1. Thymosin Alpha 1

Dr. William Clearfield, the Executive Director of the American Osteopathic Society of Rheumatic Diseases, is prominent in the Reno, NV area for all things anti-aging and wellness.  He is a frequent lecturer at the Age Management Medical Group, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, the Nevada Osteopathic Medical Society, American Osteopathic Society of Rheumatic Diseases.  He can be reached at the Clearfield Medical Group at 775-359-1222 or www.DrClearfield.net. We now have available virtual consults.  Email us at doctrbil9@gmail.com

  1. Avert: History of HIV and AIDS Overview, https://www.avert.org/professionals/history-hiv-aids/overview
  2. Younger, Jarred et al. “The use of low-dose naltrexone (LDN) as a novel anti-inflammatory treatment for chronic pain.” Clinical rheumatology 33,4 (2014): 451-9. doi:10.1007/s10067-014-2517-2
  3. ZhonghuaJie He He Hu Xi Za Zhi.[Expert consensus on chloroquine phosphate for the treatment of novel coronavirus pneumonia].2020 March 12;43(3):185-188. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.issn.1001-0939.2020.03.009.
  4. Rudolph AR, Tuthill CW. Treatment or prevention of respiratory viral infections with alpha thymosin peptides. US2010311656A1; 2010
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