Home Health Covid, herbs and fungi against the virus are also in the field

Covid, herbs and fungi against the virus are also in the field

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Treating Covid with herbs and mushrooms? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved three phase 1 randomized trials to test their validity: two to evaluate the safety and feasibility of treating mild to moderate Covid with Taiwanese medicinal mushrooms and herbs widely used during the pandemic in China. and a third on the use of mushrooms as adjuvants to existing vaccines.

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The first two, supported by the Krupp Endowed Fund, are underway in the laboratories of UCLA and the University of California San Diego under the direction of Gordon Saxe e Andrew Shubov, amazed that no one else in the West had taken the path of traditional medicine since the first wave.

They have called it a “sensational omission”, but now the results of these studies will prove them right or not, to understand if indeed mushrooms and herbs can represent an effective and safe cure on a large scale.

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Other researchers are also currently conducting in vitro and animal studies with natural products, to evaluate antiviral activity against Covid, but the Mach-19 studies are one of a kind because they have been granted permission to test natural products among beings. humans with acute Sars-Cov-2 infection.

According to Saxe, it is biologically plausible that fungi may have immunomodulating properties against the pandemic virus. “The interactions of fungi as part of the gut microbiome include binding to immune receptors – explained the researcher. Jama Network – there are receptors on T cells, for example, that bind mushroom polysaccharides. This is a mechanism by which we can modulate the behavior of our immune cells, which could have a potential effect against Sars-Cov-2 as well. “

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A mix of wood fungi is tested on patients: the Trametes Versicolor, also called Turkey Tail for its resemblance to a turkey tail, known for its antiviral and anticancer properties, andAgarikon, both of which are available as over-the-counter supplements.

According to Saxe, “Doctors in Greece treated lung diseases with Agarikon as early as 2,300 years ago. More recently it has been found in preclinical studies that Agarikon inhibits a number of viruses, including swine and avian flu, and virus. ‘herpes. And it has also been shown to have anti-tuberculosis properties. “

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“Turkey Tail was extensively studied as an adjuvant to chemotherapy more than ten years ago,” added Dr. Craig Hopp of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “A 2012 meta-analysis of 13 clinical trials by Hong Kong researchers found a 9% absolute reduction in 5-year mortality among cancer patients who were treated with this fungus in addition to chemotherapy. Several studies showed a modest improvement in immune function, but nothing that has influenced clinical practice so far. ” This is only in the West, while “in Japan and China it is standard practice”.

As for herbs, an approach called Qing Fei Pai Du Tang is being tested, which is a combination of 21 plants from 4 formulations developed to treat Covid in Wuhan, China. “The experience with these herbs is very profound: the ones we are using are based on formulas that date back to the third century,” says Shubov. In a large Chinese observational study, first-wave hospitalized patients who used herbs for at least three days in addition to traditional medications had a 50% lower risk of in-hospital mortality.

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For each of the Mach-19 studies, the researchers plan to recruit 66 Sars-Cov-2 positive patients with obvious symptoms, residing in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas, who will receive the mushroom combination, herbal formulation, or a placebo. , from 4 days to 2 weeks. And while finding the right candidates for the control groups is not easy, there is no shortage of volunteers for mushroom testing.

“We are already measuring the levels of antibodies and are monitoring them,” explains Saxe, who in addition to safety, will have to evaluate whether the combination of fungi increases the antibody titers, reduces the adverse effects of the vaccine, extends the therapeutic duration of immunization or affects on other markers of immune function.

“We know that it is the cytokine storm that represents the greatest risk of mortality from Covid, not the virus itself. The greatest danger is that, in the case of a severe patient, an immunostimulating agent such as the fungus could enhance the immune response, worsening the process. inflammatory “, Hopp harangue. Initial safety data are expected by the end of this year, while efficacy data will have to wait until next fall.

“We hope these treatments reduce the need for hospitalization first,” comment researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine who are preparing to launch a fourth trial. They want to find out if medicinal mushrooms can provide enough immune response enhancement to replace the third dose of the vaccine. “As vaccines lead to the production of antibodies that can destroy the virus in the blood, some fungi have the potential to increase the number of antibodies and improve the immunity of T cells,” concludes Saxe. If we were able to use them to modulate our immunity, we would take a big step forward against Covid, opening the interest also to other botanical formulas and approaches to treatment “.

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