(NaturalHealth365) As COVID-19 continues its march across the globe – and officials warn of a “tsunami” of newly-diagnosed cases and continuing fatalities in the U.S. – a team of Canadian researchers is basing their hopes on quercetin, a flavonoid from plants.
At the center of this flurry of optimism is research helmed by Dr. Michael Chrétien, a renowned scientist at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal. Along with his co-researcher, Congolese scientist Majambu Mbikay, Dr. Chrétien is currently awaiting approval to send the drug (derived from plants) to China for clinical trials that will test it against the novel coronavirus.
While this would be the first clinical study to test quercetin against COVID-19, natural health experts have long credited this natural plant pigment with the ability to deal with a variety of viruses. In fact, Dr. Chrétien describes quercetin as a “broad spectrum antiviral” that has been shown in studies to be effective against such formidable diseases as SARS, the Ebola virus, and the Zika virus.
Incoming data from quercetin trial will be monitored minute-by-minute from Montreal
In a series of interviews and articles, Dr. Chrétien has released details of the imminent study. Once the team is granted approval to send the quercetin to China, samples will be delivered to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan.
Canadian and Chinese scientists will then collaborate on the trials, which will involve about 1,000 test patients. Drs. Chretien and Mbikay will join colleagues from the non-profit International Consortium of Antivirals (which Chrétien helped to found in 2004 as a response to the SARS epidemic) in maintaining a round-the-clock communications center.
From there, they will be able monitor patients’ progress in Wuhan, including viewing patients’ charts and X-rays. According to Dr. Chrétien, it may be possible to have results on quercetin’s ability to treat COVID within 60 days of the beginning of the trial.
“Bingo! It works!” Groundbreaking researcher’s earlier studies on SARS and Ebola laid the groundwork for current COVID research
Since the 2003 SARS outbreak – which infected over 8,000 patients in 26 countries – Dr. Chrétien has been studying potential treatments (including quercetin) for the virus, in the event that it resurfaces. And, while clinical trials haven’t yet been performed, quercetin has shown great promise in combating SARS (severe acute respiratory distress) in animal models.
This is very significant, because COVID-19 is structurally similar to SARS. In fact, the new coronavirus is also known as SARS-CoV-2. And, earlier research has given cause for hope.
In a 2014 study published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Drs. Chrétien and Mbikay concluded that a glucosylated form of quercetin (Quercetin 3-B-O-D glucoside) targeted various steps of viral entry and protected mice against the Ebola virus.
The team also learned that pre-treatment with quercetin, rather than post-treatment, offered the best protection. In a recent interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News Network, Dr. Chrétien offered a more informal reaction to the Ebola study’s encouraging results.
“Bingo! It worked!” he recalled.
Dr. Chrétien, who is generally recognized as one of the most renowned scientists and medical researchers in the world, has a strong emotional and professional connection with China.
He received training under noted Chinese researcher Dr. C.H. Li, and served as an honorary professor at both the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College.
This therapy is non-toxic, safe and pre-approved for use by humans
The good news: the FDA has already approved quercetin as safe for human consumption – meaning that no animal testing is necessary. This also means that if the treatment works, it should be available quickly.
The quercetin will be in the form of easily-administered oral supplements. And, Dr. Chrétien asserts that quercetin is so safe that even the high doses used in the study will not cause side effects.
Co-researcher Dr. Mbikay notes that quercetin would cost a mere $2 a day – a negligible amount that stands in stark contrast to the $1,000-per- injection cost of existing COVID-19 treatments. “It (quercetin) doesn’t even compare in price,” Dr. Mbikay pointed out.
He added that he is particularly hopeful that quercetin could eventually be used to ease outbreaks in African countries – which he says lack the infrastructure for treating COVID-19.
A natural way to inhibit viral replication and defeat influenza
Quercetin, a plant pigment found in fruits and vegetables, is currently used to treat inflammatory diseases, reduce allergy symptoms and lower cholesterol.
But what is particularly relevant – especially now – is quercetin’s ability to boost the immune system and interfere with viral replication. In a review published in Viruses, the authors concluded that quercetin inhibited viral infections in the early stages – particularly during viral attachment and viral-cell fusion.
Quercetin has already shown the ability to inhibit both the A and B types of influenza, along with the H1N1 and the H3N2 viruses. Some forward-thinking physicians in the US already credit quercetin with being both safer and more effective than Tamiflu, the “gold standard” of medical therapies for influenza.
And, researchers are reporting that viruses seem to be incapable of developing immunity to quercetin – another huge plus.
To boost your own intake of dietary quercetin, opt for healthy amounts of organic unpeeled apples, dark cherries, cocoa, dark leafy greens, green tea and onions.
Quercetin is also available as a supplement, with natural healers advising typical dosages of 500 mg twice a day. As always, consult your own integrative healthcare provider before adding quercetin to your immune-boosting routine.
Discover a safe way to improve quercetin bioavailability and “supercharge” its therapeutic potential
It’s simple: be sure to consume vitamin C! Natural health experts already know that vitamin C has antioxidant, immune system-boosting and antiviral effects.
As reported previously in NaturalHealth365, high-dose IV vitamin C is already being used throughout China to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak – with three different new studies winning approval. On March 3, the government of Shanghai, China, announced its official recommendation that COVID-19 should be treated with high amounts of IV vitamin C.
Chinese scientists and physicians are reporting that high-dose vitamin C is achieving “good results in clinical applications.” They credit the nutrient with improving endothelial function and treating acute lung injury and respiratory distress.
In addition, vitamin C helps to regenerate quercetin and maintain its antioxidant properties – leading researchers to believe that combining the two could pack a double virus-fighting punch. And preliminary research seems to back this up!
In a study published in Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, researchers found that a combination of 500 mg of quercetin and 250 mg of vitamin C lessened cell damage and caused a marker of inflammation to decrease by 62 percent.
Natural health experts are currently recommending dosages of 3,000 to 6,000 mg of vitamin C a day to fight viral infection. However, consult your own integrative doctor before supplementing, because you may need much more – depending on the intensity of your infection.
Naturally, a strong immune system is of premier importance – especially in times such as these. Staying well hydrated, getting good quality sleep, keeping physically active, and eating organic fresh food can pay off in terms of maintaining a strong immune system.
No doubt, the question of whether quercetin is effective against COVID-19 remains to be seen in clinical studies. Dr. Chrétien, himself, is careful to warn against “false hope.” But, given the encouraging results of earlier studies, the hopes for quercetin may, indeed, be based in reality.
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