Vitamin C could support patients with coronavirus
Coronavirus infections are in the news, with an entire city in China shut down and international travellers screened for infection.
Viral diseases such as those caused by coronaviruses and influenza viruses can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can result in acute, sometimes fatal lung injury.
One promising potential treatment for the condition is high dose intravenous vitamin C.
A paper published in the World Journal of Critical Care Medicine describes the treatment of a patient with confirmed virus-induced ARDS. For the first time, doctors at Virginia Commonwealth University administered high dose intravenous vitamin C to treat ARDS.
The 20-year old patient, who had no significant medical history, had contracted the virus while holidaying overseas and on her return home to the US had suffered acute respiratory failure.
The patient was admitted to the ICU. She was treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a treatment in which blood is removed from the body, carbon dioxide is removed and red blood cells are oxygenated. ECMO is used when conventional ventilation is no longer effective due to the injury to the lungs.
At this point, high dose vitamin C injections began on a six-hourly basis.
After 12 days in hospital, the patient was released, with no need for oxygen treatment. Tests carried out one month later showed she had completely recovered.
This outcome shows that high dose intravenous vitamin C could be an effective new treatment for patients with virus-induced ARDS. Larger clinical trials are now needed to learn more about this promising new therapy.
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