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Ask the Pharmacist: Natural therapeutic options for COVID-19

Suzy Cohen
Columnist
Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios and the Board of Chosen Freeholders have declared a county-wide state of emergency in response to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The difficulty in preparing for a coronavirus outbreak is in the not knowing. We don’t know if it will come to a city near us, and if so, we don’t know how to create an effective treatment plan, and furthermore we don’t know what the risk factors are that lead to deadly lung-related complications such as pneumonia.

More:Ask the Pharmacist: How to make your own hand sanitizer

But in time, we will have more answers for this and more. At the time of this writing, COVID-19 is an epidemic that has quickly infected over 100,000 people around the globe. Thousands have died we are in urgent need of a cure or a vaccination, or a stronger immune system to make sure we come through it okay. 

FYI, airlines and cruise ships pose a problem for those who are traveling; so, if you are immuno-compromised, you may want to hold off on that vacation. 

Once a person is infected (and by the way, a dog has now tested positive), the virus itself acts similarly to other viruses we’ve encountered. For most people, it will cause flu-like symptoms like fatigue, fever, coughing, body aches and the usual miserable symptoms like sneezing, sniffling and headache.

Old Bridge school district is closing schools Friday and Monday, according to the school district website.

Recently, I read a research article about a blood pressure drug called Losartan that holds some value for this virus. It is very likely that the cellular binding site for SARS coronavirus is the AT1R receptor (Angiotensin Receptor 1) and that’s the same receptor site for Losartan, the drug for hypertension. 

So, if you’re taking Losartan, in theory, it’s sitting on the receptor site blocking it from the big bad bug! It won’t work 24/7 but it could reduce “the aggressiveness and mortality from SARS-CoV-2 virus infections.” I’m quoting from a research article published in Drug Development Research (March 4, 2020). This medication requires prescription.

As for natural ARBs, they exist, however they are not as effective: Garlic, resveratrol, taurine, CoQ10 and celery.

In summary, we see losartan and/or foods and herbs as potential therapeutics for reducing the aggressiveness (and mortality) from other coronavirus infections like SARS, so maybe we can extrapolate to COVID-19.

There are ways you can ramp up your cellular immunity too, using astragalus or olive leaf. I have more information about this topic in case you are interested.

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.