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Ozone therapy in AIDS and other viral infections

What are viruses

Viruses are intracellular parasites. They require a living host cell in order to replicate and to infect new hosts. Viruses have been enormously successful in parasitizing most known forms of living organisms in both the animal and plant world.
Viruses are either naked or enveloped. Enveloped viruses are usually spherical because the envelope, unlike the capsid, is loose-fitting. Envelopes are lipid bilayers that contain proteins. Some proteins incorporate carbohydrates and are thus called glycoproteins. Glycoproteins usually protrude out of the envelope as spikes called peplomers. The function of peplomers is to form points of attachments to host cell receptors for entry into cells. HIV is an enveloped virus.

 

The term virion describes the mature viral particle capable of infecting other cells. In non-enveloped viruses, the virion consists of the nucleocapsid alone. In enveloped viruses, the nucleocapsid and the envelope make up the virion.
Enveloped viruses are usually comfortable in bodily fluids and are transmitted by such routes as blood transfusion, or mucosa to fluid contact, as in sexual contact.
Naked viruses, on the other hand, are usually transmitted via the intestinal route.


HIV

HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. There are two types of HIV, HIV-1 and HIV-2. Both types of HIV damage a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells, called CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to helping the body fight diseases.
Within a few weeks of being infected with HIV, some people develop flu-like symptoms that last for a week or two, but others have no symptoms at all. People living with HIV may appear and feel healthy for several years. However, even if they feel healthy, HIV is still affecting their bodies. All people with HIV should be seen on a regular basis by a health care provider experienced with treating HIV infection. Many people with HIV, including those who feel healthy, can benefit greatly from current medications used to treat HIV infection. These medications can limit or slow down the destruction of the immune system, improve the health of people living with HIV, and may reduce their ability to transmit HIV. Untreated early HIV infection is also associated with many diseases including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and cancer. Support services are also available to many people with HIV. These services can help people cope with their diagnosis, reduce risk behavior, and find needed services.

 

AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. Before the development of certain medications, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Currently, people can live much longer - even decades - with HIV before they develop AIDS. This is because of “highly active” combinations of medications that were introduced in the mid 1990s.
No one should become complacent about HIV and AIDS. While current medications can dramatically improve the health of people living with HIV and slow progression from HIV infection to AIDS, existing treatments need to be taken daily for the rest of a person’s life, need to be carefully monitored, and come with costs and potential side effects. At this time, there is no cure for HIV infection. Despite major advances in diagnosing and treating HIV infection, in 2007, 35,962 cases of AIDS were diagnosed and 14,110 deaths among people living with HIV were reported in the United States


Emergence of new viral infections

New viral infections of humans appear to be emerging at an increasing tempo, probably due to technological developments and societal changes that have enhanced the ability of viruses to invade and spread within the human population. Emergence can be due to several discrete phenomena. Existing viruses of humans continue to be isolated, identified, followed by the description of new nosological entities. An increase in the ratio of cases:infections for ubiquitous viruses may lead to the emergence of new epidemics, associated either with the altered host susceptibility or increased viral virulence. Finally, viruses may invade populations from which they have disappeared or may cross the species barrier to invade new species. When a virus invades a new species it usually fails to spread from individual to individual. However, on rare occasions a virus adapts to a new species, usually involving mutations in the viral genome that alter the cellular host range. In such instances, if circumstances favor transmission, a pandemic may occur. For a new virus to endanger blood products, several criteria must be met.

 

First the virus must be able to spread widely in the human population; second, it must cause a persistent plasma viraemia of moderate to high titre (although there are exceptions); and third, virus carriers must be asymptomatic. This set of conditions has only occurred once in the recorded history of human virology, with human immunodeficiency virus. It would probably be difficult to predict another invasion of the human population with a new virus, at least from studies in comparative virology. Probably the best deterrent strategy to facilitate the early recognition of any such hypothetical rare occurrence is the identification and control of all viruses that presently endanger the blood supply, supplemented by an active surveillance system to identify post-transfusion illnesses of any kind.

Ozone’s antiviral actions

Viruses are parasites at the genetic level, separated into families based on their structures, types of nucleic genome, and modes of replication. Recently, there has been ever increasing interest in ozone’s potential for viral inactivation All viruses are susceptible to ozone; yet differ widely in their susceptibility. In one study, poliovirus resistance was 40 times that of coxsackievirus (Roy 1982). Analysis of viral components showed damage to polypeptide chains and envelope proteins impairing viral attachment capability, and breakage of viral RNA. Other researchers suggested that, in ozonation, it is the viral protein capsid that sustains damage (Riesser 1977). Viruses, unlike mammalian cells, have no enzymatic protection against oxidative confrontation.
Lipid-enveloped viruses are especially sensitive to ozone challenge, implicating that lipid alteration is a salient mechanism for their viral death. Viruses containing lipid envelopes include the Hepadnaviridae (Hepatitis B), the Flaviviridae (hepatitis C, West Nile virus, yellow fever); the Herpesviridae, a large family grouping the Simplex, Varicella-Zoster, Cytomegalovirus, and Epstein-Barr viruses; the Orthomyxoviridae (influenza); the Paramyxoviridae (mumps, measles); the Coronaviridae (SARS); the Rhabdoviridae (rabies); the Togaviridae (Rubella, encephalitis); the Bunyaviridae (Hantavirus); the Poxviridae (smallpox); the Retroviridae (HIV), and the Filoviridae (Ebola, Marburg), among others. Indeed, once the virion’s lipid envelope becomes fragmented, its DNA or RNA core cannot progress in its life cycle.
Viruses that do not have an envelope are called "naked viruses." Made of a DNA or RNA nucleic acid cores, and a nucleic acid protein coat, or capsid, they are generally more resistant to ozone challenge than lipid-coated virions. Some naked viruses include: Adenoviridae (respiratory infections), Picornaviridae (poliovirus, coxsackie, echovirus, rhinovirus, hepatitis A), Caliciviridae (hepatitis E, Norwalk gastroenteritis), and Papillomaviridae (Molluscum contagiosum). Ozone interacts with the viral proteins of naked viruses, forming protein hydroxides and peroxides, leading to viral demise.

Possible mechanisms for ozone's antiviral action in bodily fluids:

Ozonating blood is used for a number of pathological conditions, mostly chronic viral infections (e.g., hepatitis B and C, herpes), but also for a number of non-infectious clinical situations.

  • The denaturation of virions through direct ozone contact. Ozone, via this mechanism, disrupts viral envelope lipids and lipoproteins. Lipid bonds are reconfigured, fragmenting the viral envelope. At doses administered in hematogenous ozone therapy, research will need to gauge the relative contribution of this direct mechanism.
  • Ozone may directly alter structures jutting from the viral envelope that enable attachment to host cells. Peplomers, the viral glycoproteins protuberances that bind to host cell receptors are likely sites of ozone action. Peplomer alteration impairs docking to host cell membranes, foiling viral penetration.
  • Introduction of ozone in blood induces the formation of circulating serum lipid and protein peroxides. While these peroxides are not demonstrably toxic to the host in quantities generated by ozone therapy, they nevertheless possess oxidizing properties of their own that persist in the bloodstream from seconds to several hours. Peroxides created by ozone administration may serve to further reduce viral load via the above mechanisms, and via the engagement of immune factors.
  • Immunological effects of ozone have been reported. Cellular and humoral systems have been studied. Cytokines (e.g., interferons, interleukins, colony stimulating factors, tumor necrosis factors) are intercellular signaling molecules manufactured by several types of cells that regulate the functions of other cells. Mostly released by leucocytes, they are important in mobilizing immune response. Ozone, via unknown mechanisms, has been found to induce the release of cytokines (Bocci 2005). Cellular (e.g., natural (NK) killer cells) activation has been reported as well (Larini 2001). Ozone is reported to be an immuno-stimulant in low doses and immuno-inhibitory at higher levels (Werkmeister 1985, Varro 1974, Zabel 1960, Bocci 2000).
  • Ozone’s modification of virion architecture may leave some virions structurally intact yet sufficiently dysfunctional so as to be nonpathogenic. This attenuation of viral functionality, through alterations of the viral envelope and possibly the viral genome itself, may soften or nullify virulence. The creation of dysfunctional circulating viruses by ozone could offer unique therapeutic possibilities. In view of the fact that so many mutational viral variants exist in any one afflicted individual (e.g., hepatitis C, HIV), the creation of an antigenic spectrum of crippled or fragmented virions could function as a host-specific autovaccine.
  • An exciting research direction suggests that the virucidal – and bactericidal - properties of antibodies are predicated upon their ability to catalyse highly active forms of oxygen, including ozone (Marx 2002; Wentworth 2002). In this model, activated neutrophils are capable of generating singlet oxygen, a most potent oxidant. Singlet oxygen paired with oxygen forms ozone, and with water yields the hydroxyl radical (OH), and hydrogen peroxide. Ozone and hydrogen peroxide combine to form peroxone, another highly active pathogen destroyer. Endogenously created oxygen reactive species, including ozone, thus become fundamental immunological agents for pathogen inactivation. Could exogenously administered ozone augment the antimicrobial functions of leucocytes?
Periodic oxidative challenges such as practiced in ozone hemotherapy may jolt the network of immune systems, and anti-oxidant systems, to upregulate their general reactivity. For any immune system riposte to happen, however, there must be the presence of a modicum of immune functionality. In end stage HIV and hepatitis C infections, for example, where the immune system is all but moribund, immune reactivity may have become exhausted. In these situations, any attempt at immune stimulation, including ozone administration, ay be all but futile, a fact which makes the use of early ozone interventions clinically prescient.

We know that each HIV-afflicted patient, for example, is infected with a unique subspecies of HIV virion. Both intact virions - and once destroyed, their fragments - have one of a kind antigenic structures (an antigen is defined as a substance capable of stimulating the production of antibodies). The immune system is thus able to manufacture organism-specific antibodies. The still poorly appreciated uniqueness of ozone therapy in this regard, is that - assuming the preservation of a minimum of immunocompetence - it provides the patient with an opportunity to make his own individualized autovaccine to the distinctive type of virus particle harbored.

Ozone treatment procedures:

  • ozone major auto injection
  • ozone saline
  • ozone minor auto injection
  • ozone rectal insufflations.