The covid infected can be divided into three groups:

  1. Those who escaped having the virus find a home in some of their immunoprotected tissue in which the immune system can’t chase after it.
  2. Those who developed long covid meaning that the virus did set up shop in some immunoprotected tissue – the lymph tissue around the gut, bone marrow, glial cells of the central nervous symptom and others. Covid has a predilection for the bone marrow although autopsies have found covid RNA in a number of tissue types including the lymph nodes, small intestine, adrenal gland, heart and brain.

From that hideout the covid virions aggravate the immune system and eventually wear it out, leaving the body open to attack from other viruses, bacteria, yeasts and cancers. In the meantime, the long covid cohort spend their lives fatigued, listless and lifeless. Like Jeb Bush they are low-energy.

The fatigue is likely due to mitochondrial misfunction with the conversion of glucose to energy misdirected to a low yield route. In particular covid in the jejunem, the second part of the small intestine, causes a loss of intestinal barrier function, allowing lipopolysaccharide to enter the bloodstream with consequent chronic stimulation of the immune system, immune senesence and neurocognitive decline.

Long covid was first noted in Irish nurses who didn’t recover from their initial covid infection. It was relatively rare at a bit under 2% of those infected. After the introduction of vaccination its incidence has risen ten-fold:

This increased incidence can be explained by the fact that the vaccine enthusiasts with three or more doses have a covid infection rate that is more than three times higher than that of the unvaccinated. In late 2022 the Cleveland Clinic produced a report on the effect of vaccination on 51,017 of its employees. The report found that the risk of contracting covid increases with each vaccination:

The vaccine enthusiasts also have IgG class-switching to mostly IgG4 which tells their immune system to not fight the covid that has invaded their bodies.

One consequence of that is an impaired immune system after the third dose, as we recounted in this article. Briefly, the spike converts the bulk of the immune system to treating infections as if they were an allergen, as shown by this figure of IgG4 levels (FU = follow up, months after the vaccination):

Note that the y axis scale is logarithmic. IgG4 protects the foreign body it attaches to from attack by the rest of the immune system. So the three-dose vaccine enthusiasts should have a higher covid infection rate, and so they do. 

The implication is that that vaccination has increased the rate at which covid gets into immunoprotected tissue by tenfold. The significance of this is that everyone with covid in their immunoprotected tissue will eventually be killed by the disease, as in HIV. We can presume that this is the reason why bits of the HIV genome were sewn into the covid genome.

Having been infected with covid makes you more susceptible to a subsequent infection and the experience gets worse each time. From the recent paper “Acute and postacute sequelae associated with SARS-CoV-2 reinfection” which analysed the electronic healthcare database of the US Department of Veterans Affairs:

3. The third group are those who have covid in their immunoprotected tissue but don’t yet show any symptoms – the asymptomatic long covid cohort. There has been a big increase in excess deaths, worrying enough for the covid cabal to try on some misdirection:

They are trying to make us believe that it is not due to covid which is true in part because a proportion will be due to the vaccines. But, given its parallels with HIV, there will be asymptomatic people with covid in their immunoprotected tissue who are now more susceptible to rapid-onset cancers, infections and heart problems.

As Lenin said, what is to be done? What would be good would be a blood test for live virus instead of just the antibodies. Management of HIV includes a three monthly blood test for live virus with a level above 50 copies per ml considered to be indicative of disease progression. I am reliably informed by someone who worked in HIV vaccine research in the 1990s that there is no reason why a similar blood test can’t be developed for covid. But three and a half years have passed and nothing. If there was a blood test for covid virions then those in cohorts one and three could find out if they have covid in immunoprotected tissue.

The next best thing is to have your lymphocyte panel done, the most important of which are the levels of CD4 cells and CD8 cells. The normal range for CD4 cells is 460 to 1500 cells per ml of blood and for CD8 cells it is 200 to 1000 cells per ml. 

As in HIV, covid attacks CD4 cells. Antiviral treatment in HIV has a better outcome when it starts before the CD4 level drops below 500. The same would be true for covid. It only takes a CD4 count of 500 to predispose the covid-afflicted to opportunistic infections, including Kaposi’s Sarcoma.

What is interesting about covid is the regional outbreaks of particular diseases: klebsiella in Washington State, histoplasmosis (an AIDS-defining disease in South America), Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in Michigan, Streptococcus intermedius brain abscesses in Nevada, oral candida, Guillan-Barre Syndrome in Peru and Mumbai.   

The HIV literature also warns of the danger of an inverted CD4:CD8 ratio, that is a ratio less than 1.0. Both the CD4 and CD8 numbers could be in the normal range but if the CD4 level is below the CD8 level that is likely to mean that the CD4 cells are being killed off by covid. An inverted CD4:CD8 ratio can lead to autoimmunity.

Another reason for wanting to start antiviral treatment earlier than later is that covid is also attacking your liver and kidneys. If kidney function declines too much then the kidneys can’t handle the processing of the antiviral drugs, you can’t start antiviral treatment and you will die. The important level in kidney function is the estimated glomeular filtration rate (eGFR) which is calculated from the blood creatinine test, age weight and gender. That said it may be possible to salvage kidney function to some extent. Earlier this year a friend asked what I could recommend for his elevated blood creatinine and urea levels. Silymarin, from milk thistle, worked a treat with a strong initial improvement and then a slow decrease in the last result:

On the subject of kidney damage, one drug commonly used for treating a covid infection is ritonavir in combination with nirmatrelvir and sold as Paxlovid. Paxlovid causes kidney damage and so is normally used for only five days. This is often not long enough with viral rebound after the five days are up. In the meantime the kidney damage will reduce the ability to use a better antiviral drug.

You will also want to start antiviral therapy before cortical thinning and cognitive decline sets in, usually from the CD4 nadir. If you become too far gone mentally then you won’t have the intellectual capital to rely upon to keep the doors open. All this advice which suggests to be mindful of starting antiviral therapy sooner than later is succinctly stated in this quote:

When folks suffocate on their own pleural fluids, have a mouthful and oesophagus of candida, or are blinded by cytomegalovirus, they’ll learn it wasn’t myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

What the author is saying is that the chronic fatigue of long covid is just a symptom. The symptoms of long covid won’t go away until you treat the underlying cause which is persistent viral infection.

The next question is which antiviral drugs in particular? What keeps the HIV-infected people alive for decades is a combination of two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. In the drug Truvada, these are emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. In recent years efficacy has been improved by adding integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs).  INSTIs work by blocking retroviral integration, an essential step in the viral lifecycle that is catalyzed by the virally encoded integrase protein within a nucleoprotein assembly called an intasome. There are four INSTIs approved in the US: bictegravir, dolutegravir, elvitegravir and raltegravir.

If immune impairment due to the vaccines results in a higher rate of long covid the the corollary is that maximising the immune response will reduce the rate of long covid. The most cost-effective molecule to that end is vitamin D. Based on the combination of their individual efficacies, the combination of vitamin D, ivermectin, quercetin and zinc would reduce the chance of infection by 97%. Those four molecules provide at least six different modes of action. We need a formulation like this to slow transmission.

People on current HIV medications can lead almost completely normal lives. For example the babies of HIV-infected mothers have a one percent chance of being born HIV-infected and a further one percent chance of being infected by the breast milk.

Eventually long covid will have a treatment regime based on drugs optimised for it with monitoring of the viral load by a blood test. In the interim we will be best served by using the drug regimen developed for HIV with progression measured by a lymphocyte panel. To develop that new treatment regimen we need more BSL-3 labs to do the basic screening of efficacy, especially the efficacy of combinations of two or more molecules.

For example, ivermectin has moderate efficacy as an anticancer treatment, similar to that of the commonly used 5-flourouracil. Ivermectin’s mode of action in cancer treatment is the generation of reactive oxygen species which means that its anticancer effect is negated by antioxidants such as vitamin C and N-acetyl cysteine. N-acetyl cysteine has anti-covid efficacy but does it also impair ivermectin’s efficacy as it does in cancer treatment? There is likely only a low chance of that but it would be good to find out as soon as possible.

David Archibald is the author of The Anticancer Garden in Australia