Throughout the plague-ridden spring of 2020, one aspect of the mainstream narrative has remained consistent: There is no treatment for COVID-19. So it is best, and mandated by government decree, that everyone stay locked down in their homes, that business (except for those of the largest variety) are non-essential and should be shut down, and that life should be restricted as much as possible.
Much of this is dangerous and unprecedented, and it is in part based on a complete untruth. The notion that there is no treatment available for COVID-19 is simply not true, as several doctors in the United States and abroad have developed treatment protocols that they say are working. Among these is Dr. Vladimir Zelenko (shown).
Practicing in a community on the outskirts of New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic outbreak in the United States, Dr. Zelenko has gained international fame for his work in treating COVID-19 patients with a three drug treatment consisting of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc. Heavily promoted early on by President Trump, but panned by the mainstream media and politicized almost to extinction in the United States, the treatment as administered by Dr. Zelenko seems to have had noteworthy success.
In an interview with The New American’s Christian Gomez, Dr. Zelenko described how he decided on the course of treatment as well as why and how he believes it has proven effective in saving lives.
“I started studying the basic science of how this virus works,” Dr. Zelenko said in the video interview made available on YouTube.
“So like all viruses, a virus cannot replicate or grow on its own, it needs to get inside a cell and when it goes inside a cell it steals the resources of the cell and uses those resources to replicate, to reproduce. And in the process of doing so it kills the cell,” he continued.
“So it turns out that zinc, it’s well-known that it inhibits viral replication and specifically in the cytoplasm, in the inside of the cell there is an enzyme ... and it’s used by the virus to make copies of its genetic material so that it makes more virus. So this enzyme is essential to viral growth. Turns out that zinc inhibits that enzyme, it deactivates the enzyme and so it makes it very difficult if not impossible for the virus to grow. The problem that we have with zinc is that it doesn’t get into the cell at all because its like oil and water. Zinc is a positive charged ion that is dissolved in the plasma and the cell membrane is essentially cholesterol — it’s made up of a phospholipid bilayer essentially. So what that is, is oil and water. So even though zinc is effective against the viral growth, it cannot get into the place where the virus is. So what does hydroxychloroquine do? In this case, it’s nothing more than opening a door, a channel, a zinc transport channel, it’s called a zinc ionophore, and it allows for zinc to go from outside the cell to the cytoplasm, to inside the cell. Thats all it does.”
There is research, however, that indicates chloroquine/hydrochloroquine may have a direct antiviral properties. In work published in the journal Antiviral Research in May, researchers Franck Touret of Aix Marseille Université and Xavier de Lamballerie of Émergence des Pathologies Virales noted: “The in vitro antiviral activity of chloroquine has been identified since the late 1960’s and the growth of many different viruses can be inhibited in cell culture by both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, including the SARS coronavirus.”
With viral replication seemingly inhibited by Dr. Zelenko’s treatment protocol, the disease is slowed in its progression, or possibly prevented from progressing entirely. Importantly, however, according to Dr. Zelenko, treatment needs to begin early, before the virus has replicated to such an extent that its growth can no longer be successfully inhibited.
“The sooner you deal with it, the easier it is to treat it,” Dr. Zelenko noted, pointing out that this is in keeping with normal medical practice, which generally advises that it is better to catch and treat problems early in their progression.
In the interview, Dr. Zelenko noted that patients having symptoms should visit a doctor early, and that their symptoms should lead to treatment immediately, even before COVID-19 test results are obtained.
“The key is to initiate treatment on day 4 or 5, immediately, even before you get the results of the test,” he emphasized. “I’ll tell you why: because it takes three days to get the results of the test. If you come to my office on day five, I do the test and I wait til day eight for you to get the result, at that point the virus is out of control, so we’re stuck. If we had a test that could be done in the office and get some accurate results right away that would be different, but we don’t. So what happens is when we see a patient we have a very narrow window of opportunity to initiate treatment and get rid of this virus early.”
Reacting to critics who have characterized results obtained with his treatment protocol as “anecdotal” and therefore insufficient, Dr. Zelenko pointed out that entire nations have seen success when the protocol has been used.
“The entire country of Honduras, for example, has been using my protocol,” he pointed out. “I actually set them up. Their ministry of health, their president, reached out to me a few weeks ago. I helped them develop the protocol. They actually reached out to President Trump, if you recall, and the president actually made a statement during a news conference that he spoke to the president of Honduras and they’re seeing remarkable results of the use of essentially my protocol. Number one, that’s an entire country. Then, if you look at Brazil, and by the way I spoke to the ministry of health of Brazil and maybe I will be speaking to the president of Brazil today, I was essentially asked to lead or collaborate with Brazil’s Covid-19 response and I’m in the process of doing so. But they have a medical system, subsystem, called Prevent, and this system treats around a million people and they treated a thousand patients with a variation of my protocol and they found a 95 percent reduction in hospitalizations.”
Moreover, he pointed to the nation of Israel and compared results there with the situation in New York City.
“If you look at the country of Israel, which I helped set their policy, they have had, it’s a nation of 9 million people — its essentially the same size of New York City in population — and they had 280 deaths. Compare that to New York, which is also around 9 million people, and the deaths are up to 15,000.”
In fact, as of May 18, Israel has seen 272 deaths from more than 16,000 cases, with more than 13,000 recovered, according to Worldometers.info. This despite the fact that experts predicted far, far worse. According to Haaretz, the model that was “one of the key documents that has influenced policymakers” in the country predicted up to between 8,600 and 21,000 deaths in Israel.
Currently, researchers remain divided over the use of hydroxychloroquine, though some clinical studies destined for peer-review have begun. The Henry Ford Health System, for instance, has begun one such study, called “Will Hydroxychloroquine Impede or Prevent COVID-19” (WHIP COVID-19). The effort “is a randomized, double-blind study designed to produce a scientific answer to the question: Does it work?” the Ford Health System says in its description of the study.
In his interview with The New American, Dr. Zelenko indicated that he too is working with researchers on another study to be reported in peer-reviewed journals at some point.
Still, controversy swirls even on this point. According to the Times of Israel, journalist Jerome Corsi, once investigated by the Mueller witch hunt, has come to the attention of federal prosecutors again for an email he inadvertently sent to one of them that was intended for Dr. Zelenko. “Corsi said he mistakenly sent an email meant for Dr. Vladimir ‘Zev’ Zelenko to federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky because they are similar names in his address book,” the Times of Israel reported.
Zelinsky worked on the Mueller effort and “was one of the prosecutors who had been investigating Corsi,” the paper reported, noting that the email sent by Corsi to Zelinsky apparently made reference to “FDA-approved randomized” testing.
“The prosecutor responded to the email by asking Corsi if he had an attorney, and then told Corsi’s lawyer that he had checked a government website of approved clinical trials and found no mention of Zelenko,” the paper said.
According to Salon, “Zelinsky is currently investigating coronavirus-related crimes in Maryland as part of Attorney General William Barr's efforts to respond to fraudsters and price-gougers taking advantage of the health crisis.”
Dubious political intrigues aside, health outcomes obtained by Dr. Zelenko and others in using hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 strongly suggest that properly conducted studies of the drug and protocols based on it for treatment of COVID-19 should be conducted to ascertain the details of effectiveness and means of action of the drug.
For Dr. Zelenko, we are now at an important point where successful treatment of COVID-19 can make a significant difference in the outcome for society as a whole. A second wave of the virus, he said, is likely, and when it comes, the correct response will be to “treat someone early, and treat for prevention the high risk population” to limit the impact.
In conclusion, he told The New American’s Christian Gomez: “We are now at a very pivotal moment in history where depending on political will and policy we could turn this thing around and essentially end the global crisis.”
Photo: Dr. Vladimir Zelenko
Dennis Behreandt is a research professional and writer, frequently covering subjects in history, theology, and science and technology. He has worked as an editor and publisher, and is a former managing editor of The New American.