What’s emerged with the COVID-19 pandemic is a peculiar pattern of vulnerability. It’s being widely reported that older people are the most severely affected by the infection and are the demographic most likely to die from it. Whereas, children and teenagers often appear to sail right through the infection with only minor symptoms, or the just having symptoms equivalent to a cold or minor flu. Yet, at the lower end of the age spectrum, say in one and two-year-old’s, the severity of the diseases increases again.

Children of all ages are susceptible to COVID-19 and while their symptoms are generally less severe than those of adults, a small percentage — particularly preschoolers and infants — can become seriously ill, according to a new study.

Some children with COVID-19 become seriously ill

So, we have this big U-shape in the age-related severity response to getting the infection.  This pattern is similar to the incidence pattern of the autoimmune diseases I discussed in my ETFOH eBook.

Figure 9: Pattern of incidence rates of Eczema in the USA

Source: Eczema cases rise dramatically http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7955312.stm

An equally important observation is that many thousands of people have tested positive for having had COVID-19 and yet have remained completely symptom free. Therefore, it’s very critical to appreciate that just getting COVID-19 is not sufficient on its own to cause disease. Clearly, it’s COVID-19 and something else when combined that leads to the disease. What is that something else? We should all be very curious and striving to find out what it is.

In the context of COVID-19 infections, the general assumption is that older people just have weaker immune systems and are thus less able to fight off the virus. Except, it’s not just age that’s the primary factor. Rather it’s a person’s age combined with their pre-existing conditions, or comorbidities, that somehow makes them more vulnerable to having a severe response.  Therefore, we can almost right away dismiss that assumption of a “weak” immune system being to blame because it is not at all just older people who succumb to the infection. Some younger people, even in their 30’s, are dying from the infection too. It’s just much more common to have a severe response in these younger people primarily when they have comorbidities. Therefore, the pre-existing comorbidities are the bigger risk factor.  The cited highest risk comorbidities are diabetes, obesity, asthma, other autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you’ll know that these are all diseases that I’ve been attributing to long term vitamin-A toxicity.

Let’s see if we can make some sense out of this. Could it be that there’s some mechanism whereby people with a higher level of vitamin-A storage could be more severely impacted by viral infections, and especially that of COVID-19? Firstly, let’s look at some interesting data regarding the liver storage concentration by age. For that, we’ll look at this 1973 study from Mitchell et al.

Source: G. Vaughn Mitchell, M. Young, C. R. Seward, Vitamin-A and carotene levels of a selected population in metropolitan Washington, D. C, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 26, Issue 9, September 1973, Pages 992–997, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/26.9.992

Quite interestingly, here we have a similar U-shaped curve showing up in the data.  Note that the horizontal red line at 286 μg/g is the documented toxic level for liver storage. Remarkably, this means that a large number of young children say from 1 to 5 years old are in the toxic range for liver storage. Then, as they get older their liver’s volume increases (roughly as a cubed function of its cross-sectional size) and they outpace the inbound dietary consumption rate. Then, as people get older their liver concentration slowly saturates to where they move into the toxic storage range once again, and through to the end of life.  Let’s remember that this data is from back in 1973, just at the beginning of the foolish North American vitamin-A supplementation programs in dairy, breakfast cereals, etc.. Obviously, the liver saturation numbers will be far worse if sampled today. Just imagine the blue U-shaped curve being shifted up higher on the chart to where more people are over the red toxicity line. So, it’s no wonder why so many people are sick and diseased today. They are, by the very definition of the toxic level of vitamin-A storage, beyond that point. This also corresponds quite well with the fact that about one-third of the American population has NAFLD. That’s all bad enough, but could this somehow also make them more vulnerable to viral infections?  Well, this has actually been well documented to be the case for a long time. But, for now, there’s one data point on the above chart that we need to focus in on.

What’s documented in the Mitchell study, and in others, is that very young infants have very low (and often even non-detectable) liver storage levels of vitamin-A.  

The Amazing Infant Immune System

So, what do you suppose happens to very young infants exposed to the measles virus? Well, amazingly, often nothing adverse happens. That’s correct, they usually remain symptom and disease-free. Their immune system simply clears the virus. Additionally, most of them have probably acquired true life-long immunity from future infections of the measles virus.

Likewise, just what do you suppose happens to a very young infant exposed to the Dengue virus? Well, once again, often nothing adverse happens. Yes, those infants with their supposedly “weak” immune systems just clear the virus. 

Next, just what do you suppose happens to a very young infant who is exposed to, and is subsequently infected by, the truly horrifying syphilis bacteria? Very often, they too remain symptom-free, and their “weak” immune systems clear the bacterial infection! 

Even more astonishingly, what do you suppose happens to a very young infant who has a finger or toe severed? Amazingly it often grows back! Yes, these very young infants are amazing at surviving and dealing with very adverse events and pathogen attacks. Infants are starting in life with a great, if not perfect, immune system. Sadly, that all quickly changes once the so-called “medical experts” start administering their “health” intervention programs. 

Yet, a great misconception persists in medical science in that very young infants are thought to have poorly developed immune systems. One of the primary reasons they make this assumption is because very young kids simply do not respond to vaccinations. Please consider this meta-analyses of the seroconversion rates by age:

Measles vaccination below 9 months of age: Systematic literature review and meta analyses of effects and safety 

In a meta‐analyses of 20 papers, the proportion of infants who seroconverted (%SC) depended on the age at MCV1 vaccination. It increased from 50% (95% CI 29‐71%) at age 4 months to 67% (95% CI 51‐81%) at 5 months, 76% (95% CI 71‐82%) at 6 months, 72% (95% CI 56‐87%) at 7 months and 85% (69‐97%) at 8 months.

For the very youngest of children, there is only about a 50% seroconversion (meaning their immune response created detectable antibodies). The seroconversion rates then increase as they get older. Except, this phenomenon is not because their immune system is maturing. Rather, it’s because their serum levels of vitamin-A are creeping up with age too. We know this because the same effect has been studied in fully grown adults. In adults with abnormally low vitamin-A status, they too have a low seroconversion rate of ~50% when administered vaccines. Then, from other studies, we learn that when adults have their vitamin-A levels pre-boosted up before vaccination, then there is a higher “seroconversion” rate of around the more “normal” ~85% rates. Of course, most vaccinations are really low dose deliberate viral infections.

The known low “seroconversion” rate is why most childhood vaccines are delayed until two months of age. Some researchers claim that the extra vitamin-A has “enhanced” the immune response. But, we know that’s not exactly correct. What’s really happened is that the vitamin-A has enabled the virus to more rapidly replicate, and that then results in the “enhanced” immune response. But, do not for one second think that getting a higher seroconversion rate is a good thing to have happen. It’s the exact opposite. It’s clear evidence that higher background vitamin-A levels are resulting in the increased replication rates of the vaccine’s virus. And, vice versa, the run-away viral infection has increased the toxicity of their background vitamin-A levels too.

This is a super, critically, important point to understand. This is the underlying mechanism as to why kids in India and other countries of Southeast Asia can have such a devastating outcome from a measles infection. With high, or even moderate, vitamin-A serum levels, and a lack of sufficient dietary fats and proteins, the measles infection also increases the toxicity of their endogenous and circulating vitamin-A levels! It is also the underlying reason why some kids die when given their vaccines.

What’s going on here? As usual, it’s multifactorial, and there’s much more to the story. What we do know, and also very contrary to widely-held myths, is that vitamin-A actually subdues the immune system.  What’s also been documented for like the last 50 years now is that vitamin-A weakens and otherwise damages cell membranes. It also damages the mitochondrial membranes. It’s trivial to see why too. Both the cholesterol molecule and the side-chains of the vitamin-A molecule are made up of isoprene groups. These isoprene groups are the base compound for natural rubber. So, if you’ve ever wondered why the cholesterol deposits surgeons pull out of arteries looks so much like rubber, it is because it is rubber. Ever wonder why the cholesterol deposits are yellow in color? It’s in good part because it has picked up and encapsulated the vitamin-A, and carotenoid molecules, within it. 

Carotenoids are incorporated into very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) and exported from the liver into the blood. VLDL are converted to LDL by lipoprotein lipase on the surface of blood vessels. Plasma membrane-associated receptors of peripheral tissue cells bind apolipoprotein B100 on the surface of LDL, initiating receptor-mediated uptake of LDL and their lipid contents.

Source: Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc 
Page 94

Now, just as cholesterol with its isoprene groups nestles into the lipid bi-layer of the cellular membranes, so too does vitamin-A. This obviously weakens the integrity of the cell membrane. 

Could the weakened cell membrane then make the cell more susceptible to viral infections?  You bet it can.  This has been documented in the context of HIV infections. Supplementing HIV patients with vitamin-A causes a more rapid replication of the virus, and results in worse outcomes. So, we have multiple pieces of real-world evidence that vitamin-A causes a faster replication rate of viruses. What about some laboratory-based evidence?  Well, there is indeed, and even specifically for the coronaviruses.

Retinoic acid modification of cell culture used for reproduction of enteropathogenic viruses.

The 0.001-0.005% retinoic acid injection into the growth cultural medium of prime and continue cell cultures 12-24h before inoculation considerably raised the cell sensitivity to animal entero- and coronaviruses. The entero- and coronaviruses concentrations in cultural medium increased by 10(1.58) and 10(1.68)TCID 50/1.0 respectively. The optimized parameters of the cell culture processing for the enteropathogenic viruses reproduction improvement are proposed.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2553149

And a similar phenomenon is observed in the context of Zika infections. Cells being forced into “differentiation” via retinoic acid increased their infectivity to viruses.

Differentiation enhances Zika virus infection of neuronal brain cells 

Here we investigated ZIKV infectivity in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, both undifferentiated and following differentiation with retinoic acid. We found that multiple ZIKV strains, representing both the prototype African and contemporary Asian epidemic lineages, were able to replicate in SH-SY5Y cells. Differentiation with resultant expression of mature neuron markers increased infectivity in these cells, and the extent of infectivity correlated with degree of differentiation.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30266962

So, we now have good evidence of vitamin-A (and specifically retinoic acid) promoting the replication of viruses. Of course, we all know that increased background storage levels of vitamin-A simply means more endogenously produced retinoic acid.

None of this is new information. As with most things related to vitamin-A science, it’s been well known about and reported on for a long time. Here’s a great paper from Anthony Mawson discussing the same comorbidity patterns in the context of the 2009 SARS-CoV infections. Back then it was also the people with the pre-existing conditions of heart disease, asthma, and autoimmune diseases who were at higher risks for severe disease and death.

Role of Fat-Soluble Vitamins A and D in the Pathogenesis of Influenza: A New Perspective

Anthony R. Mawson

Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Health Sciences, College of Public Service, Jackson State University,
Received 4 April 2012; Accepted 3 May 2012
Academic Editors: M. C. W. Chan, N. Kawai, and Y. Lai

The Symptoms of Influenza A Infection Are Similar to Those of Hypervitaminosis A

As noted, the clinical spectrum of influenza A infection, including avian influenza H5N1, is not restricted to the lung and can range from mild influenza-like illness to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute lung injury (ALI), and multiorgan failure [15]. Fever, rhinitis, myalgia, malaise, headache, cough, dyspnea, sore throat, and fatigue are the main presenting symptoms. Complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, or sinusitis, and rarely encephalitis, transverse myelitis, Reye syndrome, myocarditis, or pericarditis [110].

Hindawi Publishing Corporation
ISRN Infectious Diseases
Volume 2013, Article ID 246737, 26 pages

Mawson does a great job of explaining how and why this can be related to an overload of vitamin-A, and why a low vitamin D/A ratio is a very important factor.  Oddly, this paper was not picked up by the major journals, say such as the BMJ, or Lancet. Why was there so little interest in this Mawson paper? Could it be that the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry have no genuine interest in understanding what’s really enabling and driving viral infections?  Could it be that their primary, if not only interest, is their commercial interests? Of course, it is. These companies have multi-billion dollar vaccine divisions. Therefore, any non-vaccine solution to viral infections would be a serious and direct threat to that ongoing annual business model. Therefore, it is incredibly unlikely that we’ll ever see a non-vaccine based solution developed by the pharmaceutical industry. What if we all came to the understanding that the best way to protect ourselves from viral infections was simply to keep our vitamin-A consumption very low? That could devastate the industry. Therefore, that information cannot be allowed to be developed and confirmed. Therefore, the Mawson paper must be ignored.

The ACE2 Receptors

There’s been a lot of press lately about the important role that the ACE2 receptors play in COVID-19 infections. The virus’s glycoprotein binds to the cell membrane protein angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and that’s how it gains entry into the human cell.

The novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) uses the SARS-coronavirus receptor ACE2 and the cellular protease TMPRSS2 for entry into target cells

Here, we demonstrate that 2019-nCoV-S uses the SARScoronavirus receptorACE2, for entry and the cellularprotease TMPRSS2 for 2019-nCoV-S priming. A TMPRSS2 inhibitor blocked entry and might constitute a treatment option. Finally, we show that the serum form a convalescent SARS patient neutralized 2019nCoV-S-driven entry.

Source: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.01.31.929042v1

Not at all surprisingly, retinoic acid upregulates the same ACE2 receptors.

Upregulation of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 by all-trans retinoic acid in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

However, in atRA-treated SHR, a significant upregulation of ACE2 expression was observed in heart and kidney. In conclusion, chronic atRA treatment increases gene and protein expressions of ACE2

 Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15477383


Naturally, with the ACE2 receptor being the target site of virus entrance into the cell there’s been a ton of frantic research into looking into ways to block or down regulate the ACE2 receptors. 

Correspondingly, there’s been a ton of interest and media attention given to a well-established anti-malaria drug named chloroquine. Here’s a study from back in 2005 discussing it.

Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread

We report, however, that chloroquine has strong antiviral effects on SARS-CoV infection of primate cells. These inhibitory effects are observed when the cells are treated with the drug either before or after exposure to the virus, suggesting both prophylactic and therapeutic advantage. In addition to the well-known functions of chloroquine such as elevations of endosomal pH, the drug appears to interfere with terminal glycosylation of the cellular receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2.

 Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1232869/

Therefore, we can see that when the ACE2 receptors are upregulated, viral infection and replication rates increase. Conversely, when the ACE2 receptors are downregulated, viral infection and replication rates decrease. 

Yet, something really strange happened with the medical establishment and the mainstream media regarding the potential use of chloroquine as a treatment. These people immediately started attacking it and doing everything they can to discredit it. Why would they do that? Could it be that chloroquine is cheap, off-patent, immediately available and most of all a potentially competitive alternative to the planned vaccine they have in the works? 

Dr. Anthony Fauci almost jumps to the podium and claims that the evidence for its effectiveness is only anecdotal, and there is not enough evidence to support claims that chloroquine is effective in combatting COVID-19. But, that’s not quite true. There are existing clinical trials, and back in 2005, even its probable functional mechanism was understood too. Additionally, with very few other immediate options, why not quickly get going on finding out?  Why so aggressively downplay it and try to dismiss it as an option? Who and what is he trying to protect?  

Why are we no better prepared today for a viral pandemic than were we in 1918?

The last great viral pandemic to ravish the human population was the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918. So, now over 100 years later, we still don’t have any really effective treatments for viral infections. How can that be? After sucking trillions of dollars out of the worldwide economies the pharmaceutical industry has almost nothing meaningful and effective against viral infections. Sure, they have the horrible DNA, RNA chain terminator class of drugs that they claim to be “anti-viral” in action. But, not only are these drugs very expensive, they come with catastrophic “side-effects” that often decimate the overall health of the patient. They are not “medicines”, they are simply poisons that break the cell’s ability to build any proteins at all.

Fortunately, ER and intensive care teams are vastly more capable today in preventing people from dying from viral infections than compared to back in 1918.

What really matters most right now is finding remedies for people most severely affected by the virus. Contrary to the advice of many “experts”, taking vitamin-A is not one of them. The very last thing anyone one should be doing at this time is supplementing with so-called vitamin-A.