Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. Every couple of months I like to do an update on Covid-19. As we all know, Covid is still here with the Omicron variant mutating now into the BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
This is particularly important to talk about, because we are in the midst of a surge right now and I am a firm believer in early treatment. In this Note, I will talk about my Covid protocol and more specifically update you on a new treatment, Paxlovid, for people who are at high risk.
BA.4 and BA.5 Variants of Covid-19
BA.4 and BA.5 are predominantly the new variants we are seeing in our offices. These variants seem to be more contagious but less lethal. Daily there are more than 100,000 NEW cases, 400 hospitalizations, and 300 deaths. The new case numbers are most likely vastly underestimated because of at home testing.
What we’re seeing with the new variant is that it doesn’t seem to matter if you’ve already had Covid, or are vaccinated. Each case is individual. People react to this differently. It’s not as clear cut as before. The symptoms are milder than with previous variants (with a few exceptions), but I still like to treat it aggressively.
The journey of your illness is what’s important to us. We treat early and follow you throughout the course of the illness. Note: We may add something we didn’t start out with.
For most people the symptoms start with a bad sore throat and achiness. Patients are showing achiness for about a day or two. It seems to be much shorter lived than the previous alpha and delta variants. Not many people are losing taste or smell, plus we are not having to use as many steroids or inhalers.
Note: The old monoclonal antibodies do not work for this variant.
Recently I have been prescribing Paxlovid, an oral combination monoclonal antibody treatment. With Paxlovid you take 3 pills per day for 5 days (unlike the old monoclonal antibodies that were shots). You need to start this within 5 days of illness. This is important!
Paxlovid is reserved for older patients or patients with preexisting conditions like:
- Severe obesity
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Kidney disease
There are two different medications in this three pill regimen. Of the three pills (taken at 3 different times during the day), two pills are the same and one pill is different. The two that are the same actually prevent the replication of the virus, preventing it from infecting other cells. The third pill (an older HIV medication) works by prolonging the action of the first two pills in the liver, so that it hangs around longer and stops replication.
So far, of the few people I’ve prescribed for Paxlovid, most have been elderly people at risk for severe disease. It reduces the incidence of severe illness by almost 85% (which is pretty good). These studies, however, were conducted by Pfizer who makes this drug. It has not been peer reviewed yet.
I don’t use Paxlovid unless the patient is older or has alot of risk factors. It’s another drug to have in our armamentarium, which is good! We still use our previous Covid options, our vitamin protocol, and now added to the list, Paxlovid.
Watch out for rebound Covid after taking Paxlovid. It has been noted that you can get Covid a week after you take Paxlovid, having the same symptoms. This happened to Dr. Fauci. You don’t need to retreat. Some people are using Paxlovid for a second round. This is one reason why I keep using my previous protocol options.
The “Stay Healthy” Protocol
I don’t think Covid is going to go away any time soon. It seems to be ubiquitous. This new variant is a bit milder, yet more contagious. If you are healthy and get treated early, you don’t need to fear Covid.
Take your vitamins! The ones you should definitely take daily are:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
Others to consider:
- Omega 3’s
- B vitamins
There is no doubt in my mind that vitamins help your immune system.
Long Covid is going to be a major part of what we’ll be treating the next couple of years, at the very least. It can trigger autoimmune disease, increase cancer rates, heart disease, and it definitely increases fatigue.
These are things we emphasize everyday:
- Eat clean (leave out processed foods)
- Get lean
- Take your vitamins
- Get exercise
- Keep your stress levels down
As we try to navigate through this mutant virus, we use the same protocols, use them early and follow the patient closely. I research (almost daily) to stay up on the latest. I am not against using Paxlovid for patients who are at high risk, such as the elderly.
Hopefully, we will continue to learn more and get better treatments. Stay tuned.