Combating COVID-19: Vitamin D the vital cog-in-the-wheel − Prof. Wimalawansa
By Saundarya Wellaboda
World-renowned Professor of Medicine and expert in Endocrinology, Vitamin D and human Nutrition, Professor Sunil Wimalawansa has offered his services to the highest authorities in Sri Lanka to help the country to successfully fight the COVID-19 pandemic mainly with reference to disease prevention.
In a previous article, Professor Wimalawansa explained COVID-19 prevention and clinical trial protocol which he has designedwith assistance from a group of senior foreign scientists. He noted that each of these individuals have more than 30 years experience in clinical and research work.
Professor Wimalawansa said they all are volunteering their time, fundsand expertise on a full time basis to work as an independent research group to contribute their expertiseand resources to help a number of countries to succeed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clinical trial protocol
When contacted Professor Wimalawansa clarified details regarding new developments concerning this project.
The COVID-19 prevention clinical trial protocol to be implemented in Sri Lanka, is a system which has been designed with specific consideration to the current situation of Sri Lanka and it was designed in order to provide authorities with a proper method that would help control the fast spread of the virus.
According to Professor Wimalawansa, he along with his colleagues have also developed a number of clinical trial protocol systems for countries such as USA, China, India and Turkey but he added that each of these protocol systems were made after taking into consideration the COVID-19 situations in each of these countries.
He emphasized that most of these systems are designed to prevent complications and ensure early recovery and added that some of the protocols are concentrated on countries suffering severely from COVID-19 and are made in order to prevent deaths. He opined that the prevention system made for Sri Lanka is thefirst study to be implemented for disease prevention in regards to COVID-19 in the world.
According to Professor Wimalawansa the prevention protocol system that has been recommended for Sri Lanka can help prevent the virus from uncontrollably spreading within quarantine centres and he further explained that in partnership with the group of senior scientists, he was able to create a capsule containing a high-potent nutrient capableofboosting the Vitamin D levels within the human body, therefore strengthening the immune system to maximum level.
Professor Wimalawansa said that the capsulesare a custom-synthesised mega-dose, made in a reputed laboratory named,Bioinnovations-Pharmacal in Arkansas, USA. He added that since these are custom-made it is currently not available for purchase. He alleged that it is company assured that ingredients in the capsule have been tested and proven to be pure and added that it is suitable for consumption.
"For those who have just contracted the virus, when you have this mega-dose nutrient in the body, he or she will experiencemilder symptoms. Those with sufficient micro-nutrients, including vitamin D and zinc, will have either no symptomatic disease or have minor symptoms." He added.
Professor Wimalawansa further said that maintaining a healthy level of Vitamin D will strengthen one's immunity and added that the response of the immune system is positively related to the vitamin D concentration in the blood.
He emphasized that many recent studies report that, individuals who require Intensive Care and those who have passed away, had their serum vitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations at less than 5 nanograms per millilitre (ng/mL).
He clarified that to achieve an immune system capable of winning against COVID-19, one needs to maintain serumvitamin D [25(OH)D' concentration in excess of 40ng/mL (most certainly, above 30 ng/mL).
ProfessorWimalawansaalso said recent research reports from multiple countries indicate that for every person tested positive of COVID-19, there are between 10-40 more individuals who are infected, but they do not know it.
He said that they are called symptomatic carriers and added that they indeed can spread the disease to others in the community. Such individuals when admitted to a quarantine centre, while may not yet have developed PCR positivity, could infect others, he added.
Professor Wimalawansa further claimed that general databases from multiple countries reported that while less than 5% of those who are admitted to quarantine centres are infected, when they leave, up to 20% can be infected while being there and added that this is what the team of volunteers proposed to prevent by implementing the protocol system.
He further clarified that however this process can be later applied to otherareas to help prevent the virus from uncontrollably spreading not only in quarantine centres,but alsoin the Prison, navy vessels, cruise-ships, and among frontline workers such as healthcare, emergency services and soldiers engaged in contact tracing.
Meanwhile, Professor Wimalawansa said during the first week of his return to the country he wrote to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa offering his services added that after receiving his letter, President Rajapaksa notified him that the information will be entrusted to the Director General of Health Services for further attention.
Professor Wimalawansa further emphasised that since hedidnot receive a response from the Director General he wrote to the Defence Secretary through the Army Commander, where he explained information regarding the prevention protocol system and requested an immediate response.
Professor Wimalawansa clarified that he took these initiatives about three to four weeks ago but had still not got formal approval and noted that this was despite the fact that all expenses will be borne by them.
ProfessorWimalawansa noted that his team has already paid the costs for thesynthesis of these mega-dose capsules, and airfreight to the BIA from the USand added that to facilitate the process, his teamhad already purchased laptop computers for each of the participating quarantine centres to enable easy data entering regarding the progress of participants.
Furthermore,Professor Wimalawansanoted that he and associates were contacted by governmental and non-governmental groups from Indonesia, the Philippines, and India requesting for their assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and added that if the relevant authoritiesfailed to provide formal approval and cooperate, they will direct all resources to the above-mentioned countries for their benefit.