Dr. Andrew Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist, observed that the Vitamin C levels in coronavirus patients show a dramatic decrease when they are confronted with sepsis.

Sepsis is the result of an inflammatory response caused when the body’s immune system shifts into overdrive and overreacts to an infection, in this case, the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Sepsis comes with a litany of symptoms also associated with COVID-19 and it can quickly kill a patient if not treated.  

While researchers are scrambling to find a vaccine, Dr. Weber has been administering 1,500 milligrams of Vitamin C intravenously to patients who are in intensive care battling the disease. That same dosage is then repeated three or four times over 24 hours.

The treatment is based on reports from China where massive doses of the powerful antioxidant supposedly helped patients. China is on the “downside” of the pandemic slope, with fewer number of new cases reported each day.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women each day. Any excess is not stored by the body, but high doses can cause nausea and diarrhea. Chemically, Vitamin C is ascorbic acid and occurs naturally in citrus fruits and onions and many other foods. A lack of the vitamin causes a condition called scurvy, the bane of 16th through 19th-century seafarers.

Dr. Weber commented on the Chinese experimental treatment and said, “The patients who received Vitamin C did significantly better than those who did not get Vitamin C,” and then added, “It helps a tremendous amount, but it is not highlighted because it’s not a sexy drug.”

The two Northwell Health facilities on Long Island where Dr. Weber is affiliated said that Vitamin C was being “widely used” as a coronavirus treatment throughout the system, but noted that medication protocols varied from patient to patient. They did not disclose how many are getting the Vitamin C treatment.

In addition to Vitamin C, other medicines are used in combination for serious cases of COVID-19. Those include the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, various biologics and blood thinners, according to Dr. Weber.

A randomized, triple-blind study with 140 participants is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, according to information on the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website, that may prove helpful with future outbreaks.  President Donald Trump has tweeted that the unproven, combination therapy has “a real chance to be one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine.”

The anti-malaria drug has been the topic of some controversy after Trump expressed some optimism over hydroxychloroquine and promised to make it “available, almost immediately.”  

An Arizona man and his wife, upon hearing Trump’s statement and fearful of COVID-19, ingested a substance with a similar sounding name, chloroquine phosphate, believing it was the same anti-malarial drug mentioned by Trump. The substance is used to clean fish tanks.

Thirty minutes later they fell ill, and the man later died. His wife remains in the hospital and some are blaming Trump for “touting” the fish tank cleaner as a treatment. These are indeed strange days.