Covid-19 Immunity: Plan A or Plan B?


According to Professor John Ioannidis, ” Is it the virus itself or the immune response to the virus that is doing more damage in different cases? If it’s the virus and not enough immune response then we need to have a vaccine. If the problem is the over reaction of the immune system that eventually leads accidentally to destroying our own cells like lung cells, then a vaccine may actually be a bad idea.” He said there were attempts to make animal corona vaccines that failed because they over-stimulated the immune system.
What he describes is not new. Many deaths are caused by immune reactions gone haywire. “Cytokine storms” is an expression for one kind.
There is some opinion, perhaps contested, that Covid deaths ARE from a haywire immune response. If so, some say it does not bode well for those who think a vaccine is the be all and end all. Others emphatically believe this is NOT a problem, because the vaccine is only a small amount that quickly disappears.

The best part of Medscape are the comments buried below the articles:
Below a May 23 article on censorship we have.
‘One thing I noticed is the rapid adoption of the “vaccine as a cure” vs. natural immunity for a disease that is 99% survivable. That should be a clue what is driving this mayhem.’

Another comment is,
“Frankly I do not believe there will ever be a successful vaccine as the virus modifies into a specific virus for a specific host. The only efficient treatment and solution is reactivation of adaptive immunity.”
“The problem in immunology is that antibodies are easy to measure while cellular responses are not. I’m an immunologist and I’m surprised how little MDs know or remember about immunology. My bold prediction is that antibody responses will never be protective for many viruses. Covid can infect cell to cell without exposing itself to antibodies in the blood. The immune response is “steered” by T Helper cells which have two subsets, 1 and 2. TH1 cells promote cellular immunity and Th2 cells promote a humoral response. They are counter regulatory. Any vaccine promoting a Th2 antibody response actually suppresses protective TH1 immunity. The age difference seen in covid is due to immuno-senescence or the shift from TH1 bias as children to Th2 bias as we age. The mortality rate of covid-19 vs. age correlates exactly with this.”

In a Medscape article, “experts interviewed say…the day a Covid-19 vaccine is widely available will not come this year and may not come by the end of 2021.” “the fastest time for developing a vaccine to date is 4 years, for the mumps vaccine.” Elsewhere, there was dismay about the short life of naturally formed antibodies. If they disappear rapidly so probably would those created in response to a vaccine.

Should we worry about the research?
Experimental vaccine volunteers in one article were 19 to 55, young and healthy. How helpful is that? The only people affected by Covid with any statistically relevance are quite old. A recent article in Nature and précised in the BMJ said that young people under 20 are only about half as susceptible to Covid as those over 65. And if they do catch the virus, more often than not, they have few or no symptoms. So if the vaccine is tested on young healthy volunteers, it will appear to be resounding success!
But does that have any relevance to its value to the elderly? How do we know it will not increase immune system over-reaction. However, another said that in the last phase of investigation, a hypothetical vaccine would be tried on older volunteers.

There is still no HIV vaccine and no vaccine for the first SARs. When SARs began to fade away, funding for vaccine research was cut. A cynic could see a profit motive in keeping Covid fear going for as long as possible.

It does not sound like a vaccine should be relied on.

What Are My Odds???

The earlier CDC report included a fatality rate of only 0.2% to 0.05% risk for those under 65 and a 1.3% rate for those over 65. A hastily developed vaccine will presumably have some risk, given past snags. Why would anyone with a 99.8% probability of surviving from Covid-19 have any interest in taking it? Should it be forced on senior citizens?

SITES: prospects for a vaccine comments section, Dr. Kirkpatrick
Under 20s have low susceptibility to virus 17 June 2020 Cite as: BMJ 2020;369:m2439 original article

COVID-19 IMMUNITY—PLAN A. (Vaccines are so Plan B minus)

Tuberculosis (no relation to Covid-19) was soon discovered to be an opportunistic disease concentrated among those with poor nutrition, with low levels of vitamin A and D. Were TB discovered today, we would still be waiting for the boffins to sequence the genome. Try searching Pubmed, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar or whatever you trust for “vitamin A AND vitamin D AND respiratory disease. (Or don’t, because most of it is below.) It is very surprising what research never reaches medical school. We are all expected to believe there’s nothing we can do except wait for the experts to provide a vaccine, when no successful corona virus vaccine has been made before.
Miracles happen. England and Scotland are going to investigate vitamin D for possible benefit in Covid-19. One might think that Canada, also with a public health care system not looking for profit, might follow suit. If readers are outraged by the amount of material on nutrition and immunity that is being ignored…they should be.

Vitamin A (retinol) has a long history of benefit in reducing the incidence of respiratory infection (viral or bacterial) and in treating same. Vitamin A and D are synergistic. The toxicity of large doses of one will be reduced by the presence of the other. (This fad for taking only vitamin D in large doses may end badly.) Vitamin D also has many articles citing its benefit in warding off respiratory infection. Vitamin D needs magnesium to work, as Aileen Burford-Maison, PhD and author of excellent books, frequently reminds us.

It is clear from the articles below and ones to be added that the balance between vitamin A and D is crucial and that contradictory results in some studies that use only one of them are the result of not fully understanding this.

Vaccine makers are trying to put vitamin A in the flu vaccine. This is just wrong in so many ways, especially since one research group credits the vitamin’s good effect on the immune system to its ability to change the microbiome. I.e., it should be consumed, not injected. This is all part of the controversy about adjuvants, like squalene. This is Whole Other Story and there are better sources than here.
One vaccine in veterinary medicine did not work unless the calf had vitamin A, so by all means, eat vitamin A.
If you do not believe all this, then you must read the long list of articles below.

Note on ZINC and Hydroxychoroquine
Even President Trump takes Zinc!
Not only does vitamin A need zinc to work, so does the much-maligned and much-praised HCQ. HCQ is said to force zinc into cells, and zinc has a long history of aiding immunity. A natural substance, quercetin, found in the white pith of citrus fruits and in onions, is also an “ionaphore” that accomplishes does this. Zinc has long been accepted as important to immunity. A Dr. John Campbell covers the extensive literature on this, and listening to his talk is guaranteed to inspire anger at how much evidence mainstream doctors are ignoring

DOSING and Toxicity
This information is not in the citations below. This website is not infallible. You have been warned.
There is not a lot on dosage. Multiple vitamins used to have 10,000 IU of vitamin A. Then in an abundance of caution, it was cut back to 5,000 IU. Now some multis have only half that. This change may have arisen at the time Accutane, a useless expensive vitamin A derivative, and also vitamin A mega doses, became popular for acne. Taken during pregnancies, both caused birth defects (as does zinc deficiency).

Vitamin A capsules are available in 10,000 and fortified halibut liver oil capsules have 10,000 vit A (3,025 mcg RAE & 400 IU vit D (10 mcg). This is probably not a good ratio. Unfortified halibut liver oil (5,000/400) would be better. It is rare. Vitamin A RDA is 3,000 for men, & 2,300 for women with an upper limit of 10,000. (Except in pregnancy, the upper limit, in the case of illness, may be worth re-examining, considering the much higher doses used to treat measles.) Vitamin D RDA is 600IU to 800IU. RDAs are almost always wrong, according to some. Doctors who specialize in vitamin D will recommend far more.
The most concentrated source of vitamin A is liver. One ounce of chicken liver has 6,576 IU, beef liver, 9,985 IU. I.e., a 4 oz serving of liver will be well over the limit. While a hungry hunter once died from eating an entire seal liver, those who routinely eat small amounts of liver are probably healthier than most. Organ meats have far more nutrients than muscle meat.
Cod liver oil has both vitamin A and D, albeit not nearly so much as the less refined oils of old. The fancy fish oils claiming high levels of DHA and EPA, while beneficial, lack any significant A&D.
A can of sardines has 2% of vitamin A RDA and 110% of vitamin D RDA. (Sardines also have selenium, also good.)
Sun exposure, May to September makes a lot of vitamin D.
Vitamin A measurement units are gradually being changed from IU to RAE micrograms,
a.k.a. µg. This is an essay. explains it.

This subject has as many or more articles as vitamin A. Consumer Lab says some papers found that adequate vitamin D was good, but too much was not. A small study of Covid patients, not large enough to be statistically significant, found that those who became sicker had lower levels of vitamin D. “Vitamin D is, as noted elsewhere, an immunomodulatory hormone which may help reduce respiratory infections, and is required in certain steps of the body’s immune response.”

ISOM.CA is a fine charity devoted to educating doctors and others in nutritional medicine.
They have a list with many more articles on vitamin D at


Vitamin A supplementation to improve treatment outcomes among children diagnosed with respiratory infections –WHO technical staff, April 2011
The title is self-explanatory. What is not clear is why the WHO does not broadcast this information during the Covid-19 anxiety. They found good results with a little vitamin A, and not so good with too much vitamin A. Articles below on vitamin A & D synergy explain why.

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2019 Sep;23(18):8133-8138. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_201909_19033.
Correlation of serum vitamin A, D, and E with recurrent respiratory infection in children.
Cangzhou, China
The deficiency of vitamin A, D, and E is positively correlated with the disease activity of children with recurrent respiratory infection. Therefore, the supplement of vitamin A, D, and E through dietary adjustment is beneficial to the rehabilitation of the children.

Clin Exp Immunol. 2016 Feb;183(2):239-47. doi: 10.1111/cei.12718. Epub 2015 Nov 24.
.Univ. of Tennessee, USA
Retinol binding protein and vitamin D associations with serum antibody isotypes, serum influenza virus-specific neutralizing activities and airway cytokine profiles.
Vitamin A supports the induction of immunoglobulin (Ig)A responses at mucosal surfaces in mice [and might in humans].

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol.
2009 Aug;297(2):L340-6. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.90267.2008.
Dept of Med. University of Chicago, USA
Retinoic acid prevents virus-induced airway hyperreactivity and M2 receptor dysfunction via anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects.

PLoS One. 2017 Feb 24;12(2):e0172350. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172350. Finland
The relationship of serum vitamins A, D, E and LL-37 levels with allergic status, tonsillar virus detection and immune response.
Tonsils have an active role in immune defence and inducing and maintaining tolerance to allergens. Vitamins A, D, and E, and antimicrobial peptide LL-37 may have immunomodulatory effects. We studied serum levels…Vitamin D and E levels were associated with less allergic disorders. Vitamin A was linked to antiviral and vitamin D with anti-inflammatory activity. LL-37 and was linked to T regulatory cell effects.

Int Immunol. 2016 Mar;28(3):139-52. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxv064. Epub 2015 Oct 27.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, USA
Vitamin A deficient mice exhibit increased viral antigens and enhanced cytokine/chemokine production in nasal tissues following respiratory virus infection despite the presence of FoxP3+ T cells.

Adv Respir Med. 2019;87(1):63-67. doi: 10.5603/ARM.a2019.0010. Epub 2019 Mar 4.
Measles pneumonitis.
Measles…pneumonia being one of the most lethal complications. Management involves correction of dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, treatment of secondary bacterial infections and provision of vitamin A.

Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Sep 15;65(6):900-909. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix476. USA
Impact of Vitamin A and Carotenoids on the Risk of Tuberculosis Progression.
Vitamin A deficiency strongly predicted the risk of incident tuberculosis disease among HHCs of patients with tuberculosis. Vitamin A supplementation among individuals at high risk of tuberculosis may provide an effective means of preventing tuberculosis disease. [Didn’t they know this 50 years ago?]

Nutrients. 2019 Feb 5;11(2). pii: E343. doi: 10.3390/nu11020343.
Assessment of Vitamin Status in Patients with Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Pulmonary Disease Korea
The serum concentrations of vitamins A and E were significantly lower in patients with NTM-PD than in healthy controls.”


Vitamin A deficiency impairs the immune response to intranasal vaccination and RSV infection in neonatal calves.
Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 22;9(1):15157. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51684-x. Iowa State University, USA
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is one of the most prevalent nutrition-related health problems in the world and is a significant risk factor in the development of severe respiratory infections in infants and young children……Vitamin A deficient calves are unable to respond to the mucosal Respiratory syncytial virus nanoparticle vaccine.

Sci Rep. 2016 May 16;6:25835. doi: 10.1038/srep25835 Korea
Antiviral effect of vitamin A on norovirus infection via modulation of the gut microbiome.
Retinol or retinoic acid (RA) inhibits murine norovirus (MNV) replication in vitro and in vivo models. Lactobacillaceae families, whose antiviral causal effects were demonstrated in vitro, were increased. We conclude that the abundance of Lactobacillus through gut microbiota modulation by RA is at least partially responsible for norovirus inhibition.

Nutrients. 2017 May 21;9(5). pii: E516. doi: 10.3390/nu9050516. St. Judes, & industry
Comparative Safety and Efficacy Profile of a Novel Oil in Water Vaccine Adjuvant Comprising Vitamins A and E and a Catechin in Protective Anti-Influenza Immunity.
[The addition of non-patentable supplements to a patented expensive vaccine is questionable, and if the other researchers are correct and the benefits are via vitamin A induced microbiome changes, the ploy is also unhelpful. Possibly Vitamin A is already added in the form of squalene (shark liver) to flu vaccines. However, many consider this adjuvant to be harmful, at least when injected. (It presumably would be nutritious if consumed orally.) Whether the benefits could be achieved more effectively and cheaply by oral supplements could be “profitable” research for non-profit research. Note that one of these articles says some vaccines do not work without vitamin A.]

Effectiveness of measles vaccination and vitamin A treatment – International Jl of Epidemiology April 2010, Johns Hopkins, Duke, USA
However, when stratifying by vitamin A treatment dose, at least two doses were found to reduce measles mortality by 62% (95% CI 19–82).
[These authors extol the benefits of immunization. However, this article also highlights the benefits of vitamin A. As too often is the case, many studies combine conventional treatments with supplements, thus obscuring the level of benefit of the latter.]

On the role of Vitamin A in protecting cell walls and regulating cytokine storms Weston A. Price Foundation wrote:
The discovery of vitamin A and the history of its application in the field of human nutrition is a story of bravery and brilliance, one that represents a marriage of the best of scientific inquiry with worldwide cultural traditions; and the suborning of that knowledge to the dictates of the food industry provides a sad lesson in the use of power and influence to obfuscate the truth.

And formerly on YouTube….
At the end of his long-winded talk, Shiva Ayyadurai, MIT PhD covers the role of vitamin A in maintaining mucosal, especially lung tissue, and other functions, including immunity. He mentioned that the body can convert beta carotene to vitamin A (retinol), but added that older people often have poor thyroid function which may reduce this conversion. He is running for the US Senate. Americans, please vote for him. He also subscribes to some conspiracy theories and has been censored off YouTube, but the thyroid point was too interesting to omit. His site is:


Michael Lyon, MD, circa 2006: “Unfortunately a lot of the research on nutrition is designed to fail because it’s done by conventional researchers who really don’t believe in natural medicine and don’t really understand how nutrients work or how they synergize.”

Searching with allintitle: “vitamin A” “vitamin D”

The Interaction of Dietary Vitamin A and Vitamin D Related to Skeletal Development in the Turkey Poult
Alan L. Metz, Mary M. Walser, William G. Olson Univ of Minn, Veterinary Pathobiology
The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 115, Issue 7, July 1985, Pages 929–935,
Published: 01 July 1985
Gist: Turkeys fed adequate vitamin D + too much vitamin A had problems, fed adequate vitamin A + too much vitamin D, also had problems. Those fed mega doses of both, thrived, as did those fed adequate doses of both. (There is a reference to ICU in this article. ICUs are International Chick Units. They process D2 less effectively than mammals so the conversion is different from human IUs.)

Role of Fat-Soluble Vitamins A and D in the Pathogenesis of Influenza
Mawson, AR, Jackson State University 2013
Reduced exposure to solar radiation, leading to a deficiency of vitamin D and hence impaired innate immunity, has been suggested as a trigger for influenza viral replication and as an explanation of seasonal influenza. Although this hypothesis accounts for many unexplained facts about the epidemiology of influenza, gaps remain in understanding the pathogenesis and manifestations of the disease. Several observations suggest a role for vitamin A compounds (retinoids) in the disease. This paper presents a new model of the etiopathogenesis of influenza, suggesting that host resistance and susceptibility depend importantly on the ratio of vitamin D to vitamin A activity.

International Journal of Cancer
Estimated intake of vitamin D and its interaction with vitamin A on lung cancer risk among smokers
Ting‐Yuan David Cheng Gary E. Goodman et al, Seattle, Wash.
First published:13 March 2014
Our observation suggests that vitamin A may assist vitamin D in preventing lung cancer among smokers.

Synergistic effect and mechanism of vitamin A and vitamin D on inducing apoptosis of prostate cancer cells
Molecular Biology Reports
volume 40, pages 2763–2768(2013) 23 February 2013 China
In conclusion, vitamin A and vitamin D could synergistically induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cells.

Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin A Toxicity, Frequent Respiratory Infections, and the vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic
Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology 117(11):864-870 © 2008 Assals Publishing Co.
Controlled studies in the 1930’s found more robust results. Cod liver oil given to 1,561 adults reduced the incidence of respiratory infections by 30% and another showed 50% reduced incidence of colds. We attribute the better results in the older study to the much higher vitamin D content of cod liver oil in the 1930s [Another article, lost, confirmed that today’s cod liver oil has lower levels of vitamins.]

The amelioration of hypervitaminosis D in rats with vitamin A
I Clark, CAL Bassett Columbia University- Journal of Experimental Medicine, 1962 – Rockerfeller Press J Exp Med (1962) 115 (1): 147–156.

The administration of large amounts of Vitamin A to hypervitaminotic D rats decreases the toxicity of this condition.
An interesting question raised by this investigation is whether the physiological or biochemical function of vitamin D is dependent on the tissue level of vitamin A or its metabolites. In these studies, it was noted that as the amount of vitamin A was increased in hypervitaminotic D animals, there were fewer pathologic changes, better weight gain and longer life span. Gross-Selbeck (16) in 1935 reported that large amounts of vitamin A concentrates decreased the lethal toxicity of massive amounts of vitamin D. Thoenes (17) in an interesting paper speculated that vitamin A was an essential factor for the action of vitamin D and that administration of large amounts of vitamin D created a “relative avitaminosis A.” This present study tends to support the concept that some of the damage of hypervitaminosis D may be in part due to a relative avitaminosis A.

Vitamin effects on the immune system: vitamins A and D take centre stage Harvard Med Sch & Japan
Nature Reviews Immunology volume 8, pages 685–698 ( Sept 2008)
Vitamins A and D have received particular attention in recent years as these vitamins have been shown to have an unexpected and crucial effect on the immune response.

Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Vitamin A and vitamin D regulate the microbial complexity, barrier function, and the mucosal immune responses to ensure intestinal homeostasis
Volume 54, 2019 [April]- Issue Dept. of Veterinary Science, Univ of Pennsylvania
Diet is an important regulator of the gastrointestinal microbiota. Vitamin A and vitamin D deficiencies result in less diverse, dysbiotic microbial communities and increased susceptibility to infection or injury of the gastrointestinal tract. Together, vitamin A- and vitamin D-mediated regulation of the intestinal epithelium and mucosal immune system shape the microbial communities in the gut to maintain homeostasis.

Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Larynology 119(1):64-70 c 2010 Assals Publishing
Cod Liver Oil, the Ratio of Vitamins A and D, Frequent Respiratory Tract Infections, and Vitamin D Deficiency in Young Children in the United States.
Gist: Discussion of vitamin amounts in some brands, recommendation for more vitamin D. Cod liver oil is a source of long chain omegea-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D, all may be important in the prevention of respiratory tract infection in children.
[One of the authors, Michael Holick, spoke at the 2019 conference.]

Über die Verhütung von Vitamin D-Schäden durch Vitamin A-Zufütterung
About the prevention of vitamin D damage through vitamin A feeding
In growing rats, the effects of vitamin D overdose on growth and well-being are prevented by abundant but non-toxic Doses of A. These findings raise the question of whether it is more advantageous in human medicine to administer D together with A in the form of cod liver oil or A-D mixed preparations instead of pure D solutions.

Nutr Metab. 1979;23(1):11-6.
Short-term effect of zinc sulphate on plasma and hepatic concentrations of vitamins A and E in normal weanling rats: Zinc may be specifically involved in mobilizing vitamin A from liver to the circulation [and] therefore, could be used to treat cases of depressed vitamin A in plasma and also to treat hepatic toxicity from hypervitaminosis A. [The famed “Dr. House” used zinc and tocopherol for vitaminAosis!]

Science. 1973 Sep 7;181(4103):954-5.
Zinc: a trace element essential in vitamin A metabolism: Zinc is necessary to maintain normal concentrations of vitamin A in plasma

Bing & Other searches
Influence of various levels of hypervitaminosis A and zinc deficiency on teratogenesis and DNA synthesis in the rat [They seemed not see the connection.]

Quercetin and Vitamin C: An Experimental, Synergistic Therapy….(COVID-19)
Front. Immunol., 19 June 2020 |
There is evidence that vitamin C and quercetin co-administration exerts a synergistic antiviral action due to overlapping antiviral and immunomodulatory properties and the capacity of ascorbate to recycle quercetin, increasing its efficacy. Safe, cheap interventions which have a sound biological rationale should be prioritized. East Virginia Medical Sch., Norfolk, Va

Zinc Ionophore Activity of Quercetin and……
J. Agric. Food Chem. 2014, 62, 32, 8085–8093

Zinc and respiratory tract infections: Perspectives for COVID‑19 (Review)
Int J Mol Med. 2020 Jul;46(1):17-26. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2020.4575. Epub 2020 Apr 14.
Zinc is known to modulate antiviral and antibacterial immunity and regulate inflammatory response.” [There are many more zinc articles.]

Dr. John Campbell on Zinc & Covid

On Vitamin D and Immunity

(Expanded content will have a pay wall.) 2017
Adequate vitamin D levels were associated with a lower risk of pneumonia in a study of men and women ages 53 to 73 in Finland Compared to adults with vitamin D levels above 20 ng/mL, the likelihood of being hospitalized with pneumonia was 40% higher among those with levels below 20 ng/mL but above 13.5 ng/mL, and 140% higher among those with levels below 13.5 ng/mL, after adjusting for other factors. The researchers found that a low vitamin D level was almost as strong a risk factor for pneumonia as smoking.

Based on the studies above, vitamin D appears to be most effective in reducing respiratory infections when patients do not already have adequate levels (20 ng/mL) of vitamin D and when vitamin D is given daily, not in extremely large periodic doses.

British Medical Journal announces Covid-19 & vitamin D study June 2020
Covid-19: Public health agencies review whether vitamin D supplements could reduce risk Among the evidence being examined is a systematic review and meta-analysis published in The BMJ in 2017, (the article above).

The role of Vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2020 –


Professor John Ioannidis, MD, Stanford University

Dr. Shiva14 mar 2020
His video was deleted from YouTube.
“The immune system is much more complicated than the model still taught at med school.
The viruses don’t kill, the immune response does.”

Well done, if you’ve read this far!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s