Snake Venom and COVID-19
In some circles an insane amount of attention was paid this week to the theories of a chiropractor previously celebrated for speaking out on the fraudulent Remdesivir saga in the US. Here is my take.
I want to start off by stating my embarrassment that I have devoted a couple of hours assessing the snake venom hypothesis, similar to many of my colleagues, here, here, here, and here (who I suspect spent less time than I did which is why I am embarrassed). But I might as well share the fruits? of my time spent assessing the Watch the Water “documentary” lest it go to waste.
First off, I have never met Dr. Brian Ardis and know little of his previous (and from what I have heard, credible) work in calling attention to one of the most fraudulent and corrupt saga’s in U.S Public Health history, that of our agencies ensuring that the completely ineffective, somewhat toxic, and outrageously profitable remdesivir be infused into almost every arm of every hospitalized American patient with COVID for almost 2 years now (by propagandized, hypnotized, and/or cowardly infectious disease specialists across the country. Go IDSA!)
The problem is that Dr. Ardis went on some highly watched podcasts this week espousing novel (and I assume untested amongst his colleagues, yikes) theories that COVID is equivalent to snake venom and that remdesivir is actually snake venom plus a bunch of stuff about snake venom, er, I mean COVID, being released in water sources (this latter part I will just ignore as I don’t think that Dr. Ardis meant that as being the most important part of his theories - see how gracious I am?).
Since those theories were broadcast, many people in my orbit, many supporters of the FLCCC, and many patients in my practice have reached out, asking what I/we thought of these theories and what our take on this stuff was. I suppose it is only natural because I believe many people trust our opinion and judgement on medical matters and scientific topics. So I figured I owed it to those folks to give them some of my impressions of the soundness of the many statements made by Dr. Ardis, someone whom I mean no disrespect to, but whom I believe I am allowed to disagree with professionally, just as I have on occasion when speaking with and discussing matters with my newest colleagues and friends like Drs. McCullough, Mallone, Cole, Urso, not to mention the times in COVID when Paul Marik and I have argued the veracity of various insights we were developing.
I watched his interview with Stew Peters and 1.5 episodes with Mike Adams, and the following are my impressions of the many statements he made if interested:
He talked about diaphragmatic paralysis as the cause of respiratory failure in COVID. Wow. Not starting well. Zero basis for this as paralysis is not the pathophysiology of respiratory failure in COVID. I know of not one reported or published instance of diaphragm paralysis in COVID death (there might be one, but I have never seen a patient die of diaphragm paralysis in COVID and I have cared for hundreds).
He accused doctors in the hospital of giving patients medicines like morphine, precedex, fentanyl etc in order to “suppress (or stop, cant remember) their breathing.” Oof. This hurts. Although this is technically correct, the wording is both inappropriately accusatory and unnecessarily sensationalistic because we instead routinely use those medicines to make patients comfortable and synchronous with the ventilator, certainly not with the primary or sinister intent of “stopping breathing”. The use of these medicines in such situations have been standard ICU and anesthesia practice for decades for patients requiring mechanical ventilation due to innumerable indications and causes. Lastly, ICU practice has been slowly evolving for decades now to use as little of those medicines and for as short as duration as possible, mostly in a vain attempt to avoid causing ICU delirium in our critically ill patients. To express this view of this practice betrays a defamatory and near total ignorance of the care of a patient in advanced respiratory failure.
To say that the most common day of death in the hospital is day 9 and relate this to be the cause of the cumulative dose of remdesivir is bizarre – average day of death has no meaning when a third die in less than 4 days, a fifth die between 5-8 days, and the rest die beyond 9 days. .. remdesivir was not around until May 2020 and I saw people die the same way both before and after remdesivir and people dying of COVID in the hospital are usually on vents for many many days. Although I agree that remdesivir is a fraud with known toxic side effects, they are not so discernible or as common as he claims. We would have seen a huge rise in the deaths of the hospitalized after remdesivir.. which we did not, in fact, hospital mortality started going down with improved care practices (avoidance of the idiotic “early intubation” protocols of many academic medical centers) plus the standard use of corticosteroids (at a corrupt low dose - more on that later) in late spring/early summer 2020.
Claiming that it is wrong that the CDC monitors water for outbreaks because it is too late to detect them at that point shows ignorance of the fact that many studies have shown it to be a valid technique for predicting outbreaks prior to rises in documented cases. The suggestion that they are putting snake venom in the water I already promised above that I will just ignore.
“They were banning and punishing doctors for using monoclonal antibodies.”I know of not one instance of “banning or punished doctors” for using monoclonal antibodies as he claimed. Yeesh, instead, we have been fired, letters have been sent to medical boards, and medical boards and insurance companies have investigated us.. but that was for “off-label” prescribing of highly effective repurposed drugs, not NIH and FDA approved or EUA approved drugs. Getting increasingly worried as this is just the first 15 minutes of the Stew Peters episode.
Now, lets transition to the main theory he espouses, that SARS-CoV2 largely acts as a snake venom and that remdesivir is also made from snake venom. As to the first part of this theory, there is a bit of truth there because there is indeed a short sequence of RNA coding for amino acids that make up a part of the receptor binding domain (RBD) portion of the spike protein that is identical to snake venom. Problem with calling COVID-19 snake venom: this ptotein sequence is just a small part of one protein of the 29 made by SARS-CoV2 when it replicates. This does NOT mean the virus came from a snake but it does have a little snake venom protein in it. Why it is in there who knows, I suppose I can ask Fauci or Baric or Daszak or the Chinese Military the next time I run into one of them. Starting from here though, I am getting worried about where this is going.
It is true however, and important to recognize, that this part of the spike protein RBD may potentially make it antagonize nicotinic receptors, a pathophysiologic mechanism which is one of many exhibited by snake venom. This mechanism does indeed cause macrophage activation and cytokine storms via the antagonism of nicotinic receptors. Although we all know that the ACE-2 receptor is how the virus enters and replicates, it is possible that the nicotinic acid receptor antagonism could indeed play a role in making people so ill. So, it has some snake venom like properties and suggests nicotine and other nicotinic acid agonists may have a therapeutic role. May have one. But that is as far as the science will get you. Problem is that the spike also has sequences which encode proteins identical to staphylococcus toxin so the following theory could equally apply to someone claiming “they” are sickening us with staph. But he goes way beyond the nicotinic receptor hypothesis and on to very strange places as follows:
Saying that the virus/venom and/or remdesivir venom causes pulmonary hemorrhage. Problem: I have not seen one case either pre-or post remdesivir roll out although it is listed as a complication of snake bites and as an adverse events of remdesivir. But it ain’t happening beyond maybe a rare case in the hospital. We are now leaving planet Earth I am afraid.
Saying the the virus/venom and/or remdesivir/venom causes ARDS initially. It does not. COVID (and those with COVID and treated with remdesivir) all have a condition called “organizing pneumonia (OP)” (never described in snake bites). ARDS only happens in end-stage disease as it is the final stage of all lung injuries like when OP progresses if untreated or under-treated, which I have well-argued previously is the proximate cause of all deaths in hospital due to the corrupt low dose used in the RECOVERY trial. My paper on organizing pneumonia being the predominant and primary lung injury in COVID is here, can even be read by a layperson (except for the lung pathology section). Approaching 50,000 feet from earth’s surface.
“Remdesivir is freeze dried snake venom.” This statement is supported by the argument that an adverse event of remdesivir is multi-organ failure, and snake venom causes multi-organ failure, thus remdesivir is snake venom. Ugh. Very very few patients die of multi-organ failure in COVID, the vast majority actually die of single organ failure (respiratory failure), and occasional kidney failure. Although it is true that late stage sepsis (a complication of progressive severe COVID) sometimes causes multi-organ failure but for many/most, they die simply of lung failure. Once the lungs have been irretrievably damaged, multi-organ failure ensues (shock, kidney failure, liver failure) but that is part of the dying process in most patients dying in ICU with end-stage acute critical illness. I saw no clinically discernable difference in how patients died pre- or post remdesivir rollout and as an ICU doc I see a lot of dying. Approaching stratosphere (which may be before or after 50,000 feet, too lazy to look it up).
He reports that “Elevated phospholipase A2 enzymes were found in COVID patients” from one study of patients in both Stony Brook, NY and Banner Hospital in Arizona. It is true that this enzyme has properties similar to snake venom. It helps in viral killing but in excess amounts can cause cell injury and multi-organ failure. But to argue that the fact that all the hospitalized patients who die in COVID get remdesivir means remdesivir is snake venom enzyme and that this explains the elevation of this enzyme in these patients thus remdesivir is freeze dried king cobra venom. Whoa. He fails to note that the patients in this study were from January to November of 2020 while Remdesivir was not approved via EUA until May 2020. Again, I saw no difference in how patients presented and died pre or post remdesivir rollout, er, I mean snake venom rollout. Further, this enzyme can be elevated in multiple other critical illnesses like sepsis. I really should turn around now and land the spaceship back on planet Earth.
He cites a paper where they studied the genetic sequences of snake venom specific toxins and that these 19 toxins (before I forget, he happily stated that the fact there are 19 venom specific toxins is why COVID started in 2019), cause cardiovascular dysfunction, muscular paralysis, nausea, blurred vision, and systemic effects such as hemorrhage. He then shows a diagram from the paper which lists a bunch of ways that these venoms damage the body, things such as coagulation, anticoagulation, tissue damage, sudden shock, muscle damage, dizziness/headache, neuromuscular paralysis and systemic hemorrhage. I have to note that most of these injurious pathways.. do not happen routinely (or at all) in COVID. In fact, I can only endorse hyper coagulation and headache from that list and… nothing else. Strikingly dis-similar to a snake bite. Spaceward.
He then focuses on this sentence from the paper; “kidney injury is among the most common and most serious symptoms of cobra envenoming”. He then states that someone said to him “we have never seen such frequent kidney injury with a respiratory virus". He again links this to remdesivir, not knowing that we saw LOTS of kidney injury before remdesivir. Like lots. I even postulate that it may have been occurring less after remdesivir as the other variants came out because in that first wave in 2020, tons of patients were landing on dialysis but less so after. Also, I have never seen blood clotting like I did in the first Wuhan strain in 2020. Clotting became less severe and less prevalent with successive variants (but still a problem, just not like the first wave, that was insane with young people dying of massive pulmonary embolisms and right heart failure in ER’s). Clotting is an issue with some snake bites and is an issue with COVID. Does not mean they are the same disease, just that both are bad news. I would get COVID over a snake bite any day. However, I will give him some support to say that the first variant of that virus that leaked (or was leaked) out of that lab.. caused clotting like I have never seen, similar to some, but not all, snake venoms as most cause blood thinning and bleeding.
He then cites another paper studying snake venom genetic sequences and that it was published in 2005, which he says was the “same year” as SARSCoV1 despite the fact SARS1 was in… 2003. He then says that gave “them” 15 years to plan/make this virus.. without evidence tying those researchers to anything.
He then cites another paper (Nature Medicine’s “Extrapulmonary manifestations of COVID-19”) to talk about how papers from China reported that kidney injury occurred in 0.5% to 29% of patients but that in the US, much higher rates were reported - i.e. 37% in one paper with 14% requiring dialysis and that this is because in the US we use remdesivir in all hospitalized patients and China does not. Ugh. The US paper citing the 37% incidence of kidney failure was published in May 2020 (by a former colleague).. before Remdesivir was in use. Should I keep going? Fine I will.
He then notes that an author of the Nature Medicine study.. is a consultant to Gilead. This was a pathophysiology paper, had nothing to do with therapeutics but he argues that because it describes “every single side effect of remdesivir", that this consultant to Gilead put all those side effects in the paper to “hide” the fact they are caused by remdesivir so that “the doctors would think they are being caused by the virus and not remdesivir."Again, all this pathophysiology was well known in COVID patients, before remdesivir. This is exhausting.
He then connects Gilead with Genentech because of a guy from Genentech who was one of many authors in the paper on the phospholipase enzyme elevations. Genentech has patents for chemotherapies which have snake venom in them and Gilead bought two plants from Genentech and their employees became Gilead employees. True. Relevance?
He states that since remdesivir comes in a little vial that is a yellow white tinted liquid, this is consistent with it being snake venom. Although many intravenous solutions can have similar appearances, I suppose it is possible they are all snake venoms?
He then shows a paper which states that venom phospholipase is the key factor in tissue injury. I don’t think he knows what tissue injury is as it generally refers to soft tissue (skin/fat/muscle) necrosis which we don’t see in COVID, either before or after remdesivir. Then he shows the section of the paper where they administered crude cobra venom in the lungs of mice and the lungs hemorrhaged. He then states that everyone who dies in the hospital has edema in their lungs (which is not the same thing as hemorrhage). Problem: one thing COVID patients do not have is pulmonary edema or hemorrhage.. until the very last stages nearer death when they get ARDS - it is initially a dry lung inflammation in the form of OP and it can go on for weeks before ventilation/death.
He and Adams then veer into the strange coincidence that the caduceus symbol for medicine has two snakes entwined around it. True.
He then veers into a tangent about a guy who wrote in Feb 2020 in the WSJ about how important the naming of the pandemic is… and how all the different entities in the world, in their naming attempts, all had the word virus in it. And that the word virus has a historical latin definition of “venom”. And that corona means crown, and when you think of a crown you should think of a king, and that is why remdesivir is “king cobra venom”. I am not making this up.
He then states that we need to treat every COVID patient as if they were suffering from a snake bite which may be the least unsound proclamation because, as above, there may be a role in using nicotinic acid agonists. But literally claiming that COVID-19 illness is identical to what happens to snake bite victims shows he has never taken care of either.
He then finds a mention of an institute in Costa Rica which got SARS COV2 proteins from China to inject them into horses to make plasma antibodies as a treatment. He emphasizes that this institute specializes in extracting venom from snakes to make anti-venom, something they have been doing for 50 years. Ardis lights up about the fact they got “venom” (he doesn’t call it proteins like the article does) from China to make “anti-COVID venom”, just like they do with snakes.
He then finds a paper that reports in the title that there were two crises in 2019 – one of rises in snake bites and rises in COVID and that there was a huge uptick in need for anti-venom in 2020.. He then wonders “I thought we were all locked down” in response to the paper stating that 350 snakes bites were reported in Texas in 2020 which was a 40% increase from 2019. Yup.
He then finds a paper that suggest some snake venoms could be helpful in combatting or treating COVID which he is not surprised about because some snake venoms cause blood to thin, and some to clot, so the perfect antidote for the snake venom in COVID would be a different and opposing snake venom. Exactly.
He then shows a paper showing that Merck and Pfizer see an anti-venom future market growth outlook and that Pfizer’s lisinopril is partially derived from snake venom. Damning.
He then finds that in the Pfizer EUA for Paxlovid, it says that it inhibits cysteine protease from the “PA clan proteases”.. and the document also mentions that PA clan proteases are also found in.. wait for it… snake venom, and then it mentions what I mentioned in the first paragraph above that there is a snake venom like sequence in the spike protein RBD RNA. And that snake venoms interfere with the clotting cascade. Pfizer wrote they found this association of a paxlovid mechanism with a venom is “interesting” such that it softly suggests a therapeutic role.. who knows but we have already been over this.
He then talks about how smokers were a small minority of hospitalized patients and that it is because the nicotine blocks the toxic effects of covid by being an agonist to the nicotinic receptors antagonized by “snake venom” mentioned above. This statement is plausible as a hypothesis as above.. but then it is followed by “the venom gets into your brain and paralyzes your diaphragm and your oxygen drops”. Yikes. I am a specialist at diagnosing diaphragm dysfunction.. and have not seen one case in COVID. He then mentions that everyone with COVID in the world needs nicotine. Again, this may not be unreasonable given the “possible” protective effect of smoking…but to claim this so confidently based on just theoretical, in-silico and a paucity of observational data is highly problematic due to smoking being confounded with numerous other risk factors and that some studies have shown smoking to not be protective in COVID. And apparently he is now selling a combination product of compounds which can be agonists at those nicotinic receptors. Why not?
Because king cobra makes the blood thin and a remdesivir side effect is blood thinning.. that is why remdesivir is made from king cobra venom. Sure.
Then he finds a paper which mentions that the pseudouridine that is incorporated into mRNA vaccines makes it more stable.. as this was discovered when they found a higher resistance to hydrolysis by enzymes from snake venom and spleen. Interesting. But relevance?
He then goes into (which is kind of interesting) the fact that mRNA is apparently well preserved in snake venom, and many scientists have been studying why this is and taking advantage of this “preservative” to do other experiments with both mRNA and with PCR testing of proteins in snake venom. Interesting. But relevance?
I spent way too much time above to see if his statements/argument had any face validity. Within ten minutes he had already uttered several devoid of any. Yet I kept going because I was asked. I think that had he simply come up with a hypothesis or evidence as to why there are amino acid sequences identical to bungarotoxin in the spike RBD RNA, that would have been fine and is a great question for Fauci and the Wuhan lab.
Instead, he descended into calling the virus equivalent to snake venom and remdesivir snake venom and essentially claiming that COVID disease is identical to snake bites and that being on Remdesivir is like you got bitten by a snake - he sees and links to mentions of snakes everywhere presumably through the manic use of google and pub med and every time he found mention of snake venom in any remote or proximate relation to something COVID or vaccine or remdesivir related he brings it forth as if it is damning etc. He simply has no experience to know that, although venomous snake bite victims get terribly ill, it just ain’t the same as what happens to COVID-19 victims. And the side effects of remdesivir having overlap with effects of COVID and with effects of snake bites does not mean that remdesivir is a snake venom killing everyone nor do we dumb hospital doctors erroneously think we are seeing COVID when it is really the toxic effects of remdesivir. COVID and remdesivir side effects have some overlap with snake bite syndrome, but there are important differences that we never see. Like soft tissue injury, bleeding, muscular paralysis etc.
To be as fair as possible, I can identify with making incorrect theories and arguments in medicine from my experiences with complex cases of life-threatening illness where I was the doctor in charge… and did not know what was wrong with my deteriorating patient (critical care medicine can be wickedly stressful at times). I would think and think, considering diagnosis after diagnosis, assessing whether the constellation of symptoms and findings I was witnessing could match what I knew of the multiple diagnoses I was considering and at times I would google scholar the constellation of symptoms or the most impactful one.. and then I would try to “fit” the diagnosis to my patient and in some instances I would venture too far down a specific diagnostic pathway by ignoring data or evidence which “didn’t fit” only to find I was completely wrong with my diagnosis. I get it. It happens. And is what happened here in my opinion, albeit way further down an erroneous diagnostic pathway than I have heard (or seen broadcast for that matter).
In summary, unfortunately (or fortunately) this is all the time I can devote to the above ranting of a truth, partial truths, and irrelevancies littered with blatant untruths, inaccuracies, and ignorances. I wish I could get these two hours of my life back.
P.S. Although not my favorite post, I got some really good ones coming up so I just want to say how much I appreciate all the subscribers to my substack, and especially the paid ones! Your support is so greatly appreciated. Thanks my friends.
Hate to be hawking stuff, but I am in the midst of writing a book about what I have witnessed during COVID in regards to ivermectin. Pre-order here for..
Thanks Pamela, TBH I sort of feel bad because I had the sense he might have been having a manic episode and I dont want to criticize anyone when they are down/ill, I was sort of hoping he would retract his theories but it ain't looking that way given I hear he is selling snakebite antidote on his website, ugh.
So grateful for your detailed thoughts on this, Dr. Kory. I have been wondering your take on all of this. Looking forward to reading your book! ~ Kellie Burkhart