We are four years into the covid pandemic and things are happening on schedule. A Canadian neurologist reports that their practice:

 is being inundated with patients showing signs of rapid onset late-stage neurological disease. Their caseload almost doubled since COVID mitigations were dropped. Now they’re seeing stage 3 Parkinson’s patients in their 20s. He shared that normally when he would see a patient there would be a long medical history of symptoms and some “decline” before a referral to him to reach a diagnosis. Now patients are already at advanced stages of their disease without any symptomatic medical history.

Locally a doctor reports, “I have a number of patients (vaccinated and unvaccinated) who are presenting quite differently from patients I saw between 1988 and 2021. It’s a disturbing situation.” Anecdotally, one of the funeral operations in Perth can’t bury bodies fast enough and has hired extra freezer space.

But nobody has been alarmed enough at this news from the Victorian Department of Health:

There has been a significant increase in cryptosporidiosis cases in Victoria since the beginning of September 2023, with the highest weekly number of cases (87) notified last week. This year there has been 607 reported cases, over 600% higher than the 84 cases notified in the same period in 2023.

The same for New South Wales which had a 400% increase in cryptosporidiosis cases in January 2024 and Queensland which had:

A total of 736 cases were reported in January 2024 alone – which is thirteen times higher than the numbers reported in January last year (56), and surpasses the annual totals for both 2021 (569) and 2022 (568).

The ongoing outbreak has reached the attention of the Sydney Morning Herald:

Has there been a sudden national decline in sanitary standards? Let’s cut to the chase. There is correlation of the “Cryptosporidium infection in HIV patients with their CD4 cell count proved that the patients with CD4 count of <200 cells/ml are at higher risk of cryptosporidiosis, with more cases reported below 50 cells/ml CD4 count.” HIV is a disease in which the virions find a home in immunoprotected tissue and from there infect and kill the CD4 cells of the immune system. Covid operates in the same way. The bulk of the increase in reported cryptosporidium cases would be due to long covid. The toddlers don’t have HIV but the end result is the same.

It is well past time to check the lymphocyte panels of the cryptosporidium-afflicted. Because they have much worse waiting for them. Cryptosporidium parvum increases the incidence of bile duct cancer. So there is a bitter harvest of bile duct cancer coming towards us. Pray for the toddlers – they may not live to see high school.

Anybody who has ever had a covid infection is advised to get their lymphocyte panel done, in particular the CD4 and CD8 levels and the ratio between them. There is a test now for the presence of covid antibodies and the nucleocapsid protein.

The test in Australia only indicates presence or absence, not the level. The presence of nucleocapsid protein does mean that you have live virus in your system and, left untreated, you will end dying as a result. So knowing that is well worth the extra $29. In the United States, tests are allowed to provide the quantum of antibodies present. Thus a report of an American couple in their seventies, with covid antibody levels ‘through the roof’, developing four cancers between them in a one year period.

In the absence of the quantum of nucleocapsid protein or live virions circulating, the CD4 level can be used to measure disease progression. A healthy CD4 level should be well over 1,000 cells per ml and the normal range goes down to 500.  The CD4 level should be about twice the CD8 level. If it is less, that is termed to be an inverted CD4/CD8 ratio and indicates disease progression. There tends to be a steady decline in CD4 level until 500 cells/ml, after which the process speeds up and death follows in a couple of years.

To illustrate what could be done for long covid and the cancers that result, take the case of a 76 year old who presented with symptoms of long covid. A lymphocyte panel found that his CD4 level was 270 cells/ml which is well into the diseased range. The haematologist interpreted:

1) CD4+ Lymphopenia.  This is common in viral infection (eg. HIV),

Three weeks later he was diagnosed with three melanoma metastases – two in the lung and one in the left axilla. It is likely that long covid weakened his immune system. In turn this has allowed incipient neoplasias, in this case melanomas, to get out of control and grow faster than they would have done otherwise.

How to treat? Luckily a lot of anticancer molecules also have antiviral properties. The optimal approach to treating cancer is:

  1. Maximise the immune system
  2. Increase the production of pro-apoptotic proteins
  3. Decrease the production of anti-apoptotic proteins

Added to this is a couple of molecules which have anecdotally been proven to reverse CD4 cell decline in covid.

Vitamin D halves the disease burden in almost everything. Having two diseases would be chewing through his vitamin D reserves. It is hard to overdose on vitamin D so 10,000 IU per day when, not knowing his weight, 5,000 IU would normally provide maintenance at around the 60 ng/ml mark. Theoretical toxicity might start at a blood level of 150 ng/ml. There is an anecdotal report of an 80 year old Iranian woman who kept pancreatic cancer at bay on 50,000 IU per day and a blood level of 150 ng/ml.

Quercetin has moderate anticancer effects but is in this section because it is both a zinc ionophore and vitamin D receptor activator. Some viruses have evolved to switch off the vitamin D receptor because vitamin D is their biggest enemy.

The antiviral effect of zinc has been known for 50 years and it has an IC50 against covid of 0.279 µg/ml which is quite good. Zinc is also anticancer.

Omega-3 improves the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (more lymphocytes) and thus boosts immune response.

Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) extract also boosts immune response.

Melatonin is produced in the mitochondria by infrared light at possibly 600 mg per day. It is the strongest antioxidant. In one ranking of the cost-efficacy of molecules against covid, melatonin ranked number one while vitamin D was fourth. This suggests that modern humans live our lives chronically melatonin-deficient because we don’t go out in the Sun anymore. There may or may not be a problem in that the efficacy of some cancer drugs is due in part to reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Note that one prominent melanoma patient is dosing himself at 80 mg per day of melatonin (the pineal gland makes 0.3 mg per night).

Nicotinamide is part of the immune system and has demonstrated anticancer effects.

Selenium is associated with a lower incidence of cancer. Iodine may also be useful.

The immune system uses a lot of magnesium so that’s in.

The body’s ability to absorb oral vitamin C is limited to between 250 mg to 500 mg per day so there is no point in taking more than that, orally. Injected vitamin C at high doses is oxidising in cancer cells while leaving normal cells alone. Weekly injections of vitamin C have kept prostate cancer under control. Humans can take up to 90 grams at a time. The half life of vitamin C in the blood is only two hours though so the effect is transitory.

The immune system is important in suppressing covid. This is demonstrated by the fact that covid virions have a couple of physical ways of avoiding the extracellular fluid where the T cells prowl – constructing tunnelling nanotubes to reach new cells to infect and by forming syncytia in which adjoining cells fuse together.

Cancers are immortal because they have mutated to over-express anti-apoptotic proteins. This means that the production of anti-apoptotic proteins overwhelms the production of pro-apoptotic proteins so the cancer cell can’t die, no matter how much it wants to. 

Traditional chemo drugs work by halting the cell cycle in which the chromosomes double to make two copies. This stresses the nucleus which then sends signals to the cell surface to produce more death receptors on the cell surface. The death receptors, activated by Fas-ligand, produce more pro-apoptotic proteins. This overwhelms the anti-apoptotic proteins, allowing the triggering of the apoptotic cascade of the caspases. The caspases chop up the cell organelles which allows the debris to be carried off in the extracellular fluid. This means that when cancer cells are killed by chemotherapy, they don’t just sit there rotting – cellular processes get rid of the remains.

These sorts of drugs may have an effect on the kidneys and thus a low eFGR may preclude their use. So, it is important to start them while kidney function is good.

The list is four drugs – three with proven efficacy against melanoma and one, ivermectin, with no published data on melanoma. The more pathways that are addressed, the greater the chance of synergy and the lower the possibility that the cancer will evolve around the drug – because it would have to mutate against all the molecules simultaneously. 

While they all have good IC50 numbers, about five times better than the chemo drug 5-fluouracil, they all have low toxicity. Nevertheless, itraconazole is a CYP3A4 inhibitor and, by slowing down clearance by the liver, increases the blood half-lives of other molecules. This is a good thing in that it makes those other molecules more cost-effective but drug interactions with itraconazole should be approached carefully.

On the subject of itraconazole, a single 200 mg dose, as a capsule with food, produces an average peak plasma concentration of 239 ng/mL (0.34μM) within 4.5 hours. At steady state (after 14 days of 200 mg every 12 hours), the average plasma concentration is 1,881 ng/ml. This is just in excess of its IC50 against the melanoma cell line A375 so this is very hopeful.

Also anecdotally, an over-the-counter product called Tollovid may also reverse CD4 decline in long covid. The story of Tollovid may have started with a Chinese research paper in 2020 which screened molecules for anti-covid efficacy. The two best of these were ebselen and shikonin. Shikonin can be extracted and concentrated from gromwell which is the plant Lithospermum erythrorhizon. Some American hucksters decided to import gromwell extract from China, encapsulate it, give it a pharmaceutical-sounding name and charge an extortionate price for it, while skirting the FDA in making claims about efficacy for covid. Gromwell extract at 30% shikonin is US$200/kg from China and US$400/kg for 98% shikonin.

That paper calculated an IC50 for shikonin of 0.4 µg/ml which is down there with the synthetic molecules, corroborated by another paper. By comparison, ivermectin’s IC50 against covid is 1.5 µg/ml. Ivermectin is already in the protocol under increasing pro-apoptotic proteins. Shikonin has a relatively narrow therapeutic window while you could drive a truck through ivermectin’s therapeutic window. Ivermectin’s recommended dose rate is 0.4 mg/kg of body weight/day while some are advising 1.0 mg/kg of body weight/day for problematic cancers. It is hard to overdose on ivermectin. Anecdotally, ivermectin in combination with doxycycline, also in the protocol, suppresses long covid but doesn’t eliminate it.

Shikonin has good IC50 numbers for a number of cancer types including:

The other molecule highlighted by that Chinese paper of 2020 is ebselen, a selenium molecule with low toxicity. The paper calculated an IC50 against the main protease of covid of 1.0 µg/ml. Other papers have calculated the IC50 as being as low as 0.2 µg/ml which means that it’s quite promising. Ebselen isn’t available commercially but should be cheap to make.

Cells remain alive by having the production of pro-apoptotic proteins and anti-apoptotic proteins in balance. Cells that mutate to produce too many apoptotic proteins die; cells that mutate to produce too many anti-apoptotic proteins become immortal and thus cancer cells. The number of molecules involved is around 40. With these proteins having an average half-life of 5 minutes, the system has a big physiological load. Cancer cells know that they have gone wrong and want to die and that the overproduction of anti-apoptotic proteins is the problem. So, cells have evolved a last line of defence.

They have cell surface, and possibly mitochondrial surface, structures that control the production of anti-apoptotic proteins. No plant molecules bind to these structures in normal cells but in cancer a proportion of these structures convert to a form that plant molecules can bind to, turning off the energy supply that makes the anti-apoptotic proteins. Each of the body’s organs have evolved separately in their response to cancer and thus the treatment for each type of cancer is different. And this also explains why some plant molecules are so effective in treating cancer.

Their efficacy is not just the happenstance of Nature. In our response to cancer, our cells evolved on the expectation that certain plant molecules would continually arrive in our bloodstream from our diet. This is confirmed by the fact that the epidemiology of cancer follows dietary patterns, not human genetics.

It follows that the efficacy of cancer treatment would be improved by adding back the missing dietary molecules.

The best of these is withaferin A from ashwagandha, Withania somnifera – the foundational herb of ayurvedic medicine, and tanshinone IIA from red sage, one of the main plants of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Good anticancer molecules from Nature also tend to have good antiviral properties.

The good anticancer molecules also tend to improve creatinine and urea clearance by the kidneys. The best of these is silymarin which has been known to be liver-protective for thousands of years.


Most of these molecules can be sourced online. The daily cost of this treatment protocol is estimated to be $14.27. Add in three-monthly lymphocyte panels to measure CD4 response and the cost would be of the order of $20/day. The cost of the first fill of the 23 molecules would be about $1,200.

David Archibald is the author of The Anticancer Garden in Australia.