The World Health Organisation has warned governments around the world to step up preparations to deal with a full-blown pandemic – preparations which, it claimed this week, fell short of where it expected them to be, given the severity of an outbreak that at the time of writing has left more than 2,700 people dead. Understandably, with Britons now among those having been diagnosed with the virus, there is a lot of concern among the public at large about how best to protect themselves against contracting and spreading it. Virulent as it is – and its spread has certainly been explosively fast since the first outbreaks were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan – research and evidence down the years suggests the answer is actually already well known to us. In a recent article, the president of the British Society for Ecological Medicine, Dr Damien Downing, cites 28 proven references that show the spread of coronavirus can be dramatically slowed, and even stopped, with the immediate and widespread use of high doses of Vitamin C. And if that sounds familiar, or overly simplistic, that’s because we’ve known for decades now that research study after research study, carried out by a long and illustrious list of highly regarded doctors, has proven the powerful antiviral properties of Vitamin C. It’s why generations of mothers have forced their children to drink endless glasses of orange juice and to eat dark green vegetables in high quantities. Vitamin C has long been nature’s line of defence against everything from the common cold to influenza and beyond. And yet, at the time when health policymakers should be directing practitioners in the UK and beyond to adopt an almost weaponised use of Vitamin C in the war on coronavirus, there has been zero publicity, media coverage or awareness about the very simple steps people can take at home to protect themselves from the disease. In a call for doctors to share with patients the evidence (which his article links to), Dr Downing questions false information that suggests high doses of Vitamin C should not be used alongside other medicines in the treatment of viral infections. He writes: “Those who believe that vitamin C generally has merit, but massive doses are ineffective or somehow harmful, will do well to read the original papers for themselves.” Vitamin C is particularly effective as a preventative treatment because it naturally maximises the body’s capacity to deal with oxidants, builds natural immunity and, in the processes, minimises the symptoms we feel when we first come into contact with the virus. None of which is to say that anyone should use Vitamin C alone to treat any illness. As Dr Downing says, serious illness should be treated seriously. But since there is a large swathe of research that proves Vitamin C is harmless when used in tandem with prescribed medicines, the total lack of awareness at such a critical time makes absolutely no sense. Indeed, the absence of promotion around the subject would seem to be nothing short of an abdication of duty among health professionals whose priority, surely, should be to equip everyone to take whatever steps they can to guard against coronavirus. In his article, Dr Downing sets out what he feels are recommended supplemental levels of nutrients that, as he points out, are relatively inexpensive and easy to find on the High Street. You more on this subject and optimum dosages here, but in addition to Vitamin C, he also recommends adding Vitamin D3, magnesium, zinc and selenium to your daily intake – with the amounts reduced in proportion to body weight for children. The part Vitamin C has played in preventative health is well chronicled. From its early use to combat polio during the 1940s, to its central role in an anti-virus protocol published in 1980, it has been part of society’s health arsenal for four generations. And perhaps that is what really lies behind the apparent reluctance to champion the role it can play in this particular crisis today: that its success all those years ago is just too simplistic and old-fashioned to be relevant in a new millennium. Or is it just that this would just not suit Big Pharma interests because it risks undermining potential anti-viral drug sales and perhaps lends too much support to the so-called “natural medicine brigade”? It is the same thinking that has seen the health establishment deride a whole host of other, alternative treatments from herbal medicine to acupuncture and from nutrition-based therapy to natural medical treatments and screenings like those offered here at The Natural Doctor. But it is this thinking, rather than the treatments it seeks to decry, that has no place in a contemporary health sector, and certainly not in the middle of a global crisis of the scale and type we face now.