This article is part of a weekly series in which Dr. Mercola interviews various experts on a variety of health issues. To see more expert interviews, click here.
In this interview, which took place March 23, 2020, Dr. Robert Rowen, who has practiced ozone therapy longer than any other physician in North America, discusses how it can be used for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection and other viral illnesses.
I previously interviewed Rowen about his contributions during the 2014 Ebola epidemic, when he and his staff went to Africa to treat affected patients and teach medical professionals on the use of ozone.
Over the years, Rowen has treated tens of thousands of people for a wide variety of conditions, and ozone appears to work in a wide variety of clinical settings, he says.
“I decided to go to Africa in 2014 because, knowing what I knew about the Ebola virus itself, I thought ozone would be an ideal therapy. Because of the similarity of the Ebola viral coat to coronavirus, I also believe it will be an effective treatment for coronavirus,” Rowen says.
Ozone Is Safe and Inexpensive
Aside from its effectiveness against infectious disease, ozone therapy is also incredibly inexpensive and safe. Ozone is only toxic to respiratory lung epithelium, so you must avoid breathing it. Other than that, it can be safely used in a variety of ways.
The biggest cost is the ozone generator itself, but once you have that, and compressed medical grade oxygen, you can treat large numbers of people very inexpensively.
You can technically generate ozone from ambient air. However, ambient air is nearly 80% nitrogen, so you’ll create a load of reactive nitrogen species rather than reactive oxygen species. That would be a bad idea. So, you a form of purer oxygen is preferred.
The most convenient is an oxygen concentrator. If run at a at a low flow rate, it will produce about 93% to 95% oxygen. Medical grade 100% oxygen is ideal, but in most states, you have to be a physician to get it, or you need a prescription for it. An oxygen concentrator is fine, Rowen says, if all you’re doing is bubbling ozone through water, but it should not be used for other ozone delivery strategies.
How Ozone Works
The most important factor in healing is oxygen, Rowen says. Oxygen is life. Without it, we die. Ozone improves body oxygenation in several ways. It:
|Increases 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) in red blood cells, which causes more oxygen to be released by hemoglobin|
|Improves red blood cell flexibility, allowing the red blood cells to travel through small capillaries better|
|Increases arterial venous oxygen difference, which improves your body’s consumption of oxygen|
|Improves ATP production|
|Increases key antioxidants|
|Modulates the immune system, increasing certain cytokines that reduce inflammation and decreasing certain cytokines that increase inflammation|
|Reduces tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), thus reducing the lethality of insults such as stress or infection|
|Increases nitric oxide production, which improves blood circulation|
All of these biochemical effects help explain ozone’s effectiveness. Importantly, ozone kills microorganisms, both viruses and bacteria, on contact. However, since ozone dissipates within microseconds, it cannot effectively kill a significant number of viral pathogens unless you somehow are able to extend the exposure.
For this reason, (if the case is severe or acute) ozone needs to be given via prolonged administration, either through direct intravenous (DIV) administration or through administration of ozone-enriched blood.
That said, even though ozone dissipates quickly, it creates a whole host of downstream metabolites (ozonites) — messenger molecules — that can kill pathogens and upregulate your immune system, and they last for days.
As explained in Rowen’s commentary,1 “A Plausible ‘Penny’ Costing Effective Treatment for Corona Virus — Ozone Therapy,” published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology:
“When blood is treated with ozone, it instantly reacts with electron-rich double bonds of lipids and other molecules. This creates longer lasting downstream weaker oxidant metabolites called ozonides: reactive oxygen species and lipid oxidation products, inclusive of peroxides, peroxyls, alkenes, alkanes. These molecules appear to act as messengers for the key biochemical and immune modulating effects of the therapy.”
How You Can Use Ozone
There are two basic ways to receive ozone therapy. Ideally, you’d see a clinician like Rowen who is experienced in its use. However, during a pandemic, that might not be feasible for any number of reasons.
Rowen has created an hour-long video explaining how to administer ozone therapy at home. Anyone can use these techniques, and it’s “extraordinarily safe,” Rowen says. The video is available for a $20 donation to Ozone Without Borders.2 Rowen’s website, DrRowenDrsu.com, also provides articles on home ozone use. In summary, home ozone techniques you can use include:
- Rectal and/or vaginal insufflation
- Ear insufflation
- Drinking ozone water
- Ozone sauna
- General insufflation
When it comes to ozone machines, Rowen points out that some machines will also allow you to nebulize hydrogen peroxide, which he is doing daily during this epidemic. If you’re using colloidal silver, he advises taking the silver and hydrogen peroxide separately from each other. Two other useful therapies that can be combined with ozone therapy are:
• Molecular hydrogen, which upregulates your endogenous antioxidants. Molecular hydrogen tablets are dissolved in water, generating molecular hydrogen gas, which is then consumed. I would recommend drinking molecular hydrogen about 30 minutes before you do the ozone therapy. I do this routinely before I go into my hyperbaric chamber.
• Liposomal vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which will allow you to take far higher dosages than regular vitamin C (as regular vitamin C is limited by your bowel tolerance).
As noted by Rowen, “You’re looking at 6 grams an hour, so you can easily swallow six 1,000 milligram capsules per hour or even more. If you take a lot of them at once, you would actually exceed intravenous administration levels, if the kidneys did not eliminate the nutrient.
That’s a really good idea. The vitamin C in this case is working as a pro oxidant, and it’s worth it to [take it].” Bear in mind that these high dosages are only for acute illness, not for prophylactic use to prevent infection.
• Nebulized hydrogen peroxide — This is a very powerful therapy that I believe is even more effective than using hydrogen peroxide in your ear canals that I’ve previously recommended. If you want some entertainment, watch one of my first YouTube videos from 2006 on this.
Ozone Water Is a Simple Home Remedy
While spending time in the Republic of Guinea a year ago, Rowen met a Polish nurse named Wieslavia Moriba — the wife of one of his patients — who was using ozone therapy on her patients. She had them drinking ozone water or taking ear insufflation or rectal insufflation.
“She was getting really, really good results with this,” Rowen says. She would bubble ozone through water at very cold temperatures, as cold water allows for far greater diffusion of ozone.
Water close to freezing can contain about three times the amount of ozone found in room temperature water. The reason for this is because colder water is denser, allowing it to hold more oxygen. As the water gets warmer it is not able to hold as much gas, so it diffuses out.
Ozone for Coronavirus
So, just how would ozone therapy kill coronavirus? In the interview, Rowen explains the mechanisms responsible. A more detailed description is also given in “A Plausible ‘Penny’ Costing Effective Treatment for Corona Virus — Ozone Therapy”:3
“[Ozone therapy] may be ideal therapy for viruses. In order to successfully penetrate cells, many viruses require membrane glycoproteins to be in the reduced R-S-H form rather than oxidized (R-S-S-R). Ozone inactivates many viruses directly …
Mirazmi, et al. found cytomegalovirus loses infectivity if its thiol groups are oxidized. Re-reducing the oxidized thiols (by dithiothreitol) enabled the virus to regain 65% infectivity. HIV is dependent on reduced sulfhydryl groups for infectivity, as also reported for Ebola virus to enter cells.
Like Ebola, corona virus structure also has regions rich in cysteine, inclusive of the spike and envelope proteins. Cysteine is an amino acid carrying a sulfhydryl (R-S-H) residue, also called a ‘thiol’ group. Alterations of these residues have been found to ‘cripple’ virus growth properties at least 2 logs lower than wild type virus.
Active cysteine is essential for membrane fusion … The redox status (reduced cysteine residues vs. oxidized residues) can ‘switch’ protein activity to ‘on’ or ‘off.’ Thiol S-H bonds are far weaker than the O-H bonds in alcohols, and vulnerable to oxygen based oxidants, which can oxidize the sulfur to sulfonic acid residues (R-SO3-H) …
Cysteine is highly vulnerable to oxidation to disulfide (R-S-S-R) or other residues; which effect will cripple its biochemical activity in proteins, altering their three-dimensional structure. Enzymes may become inactive when reduced thiols are oxidized. Ozone itself will oxidize SH groups instantly on contact.
Knowing ozone extinguishes itself virtually instantly on contact with blood, creating ozonides, one might then ask, ‘How will ozone reach deep reservoirs of virus?’ Ozonides are oxidants in their own right. They have a prolonged life … providing ongoing protection after a single treatment.
These molecules are less reactive than ozone, but still possess oxidizing power and serve as biochemical signaling molecules modulating the immune system. Creating a more ‘oxidized’ environment, ozone therapy may assist the body in inactivating thiols in viruses in blood and tissues.
(Our immune system is well known to create reactive oxidant species, such as hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, nitric oxide, hypochlorous acid, etc. and even ozone itself as mentioned previously to defend against infection). Viruses, unlike ‘living’ cells, have no mechanism of self-repair.”
In simpler layman’s terms, the coronavirus is a lipid-coated virus and rich in cysteine amino acid residues; if you disrupt that lipid coat or oxidize the vulnerable cysteine, you reduce or eliminate its infectivity. Ozone attacks lipids, and viruses cannot repair that damage. Thus, ozone may effectively destroy the virus.
Ozone May Be an Ideal Antiviral
Ozone also modulates the immune system. The cytokine storm associated with severe COVID-19 infection is due to an out of control immune reaction. Ozone can help bring the immune system back into balance, thus allowing it to defend itself against the invader without causing excessive damage in the process. According to Rowen:
“Ozone appears to be an incredible antiviral. In my words, it’s the ideal antiviral … Designing drugs to damage the lipid coat is probably going to fail because those drugs are going to be toxic.
But we have a molecule that can do this. And whether you call it a drug, ozone is a natural substance — because it’s made by the body — it matters not to me. The fact is, it’s a pro-oxidant and it can ding the virus and render it inactive if the virus is exposed to it …
One of my goals in all of this is to try to get ozone [as] standard of care. I believe it’s running up against a wall deliberately, because if ozone and oxidative therapies, including vitamin C, hydrogen peroxide or ultraviolet blood radiation got out there, you would see a change in the landscape of medicine in this country and it would really hurt Pharma … So, I have no doubt that this information is being deliberately squelched.
I know reporters who were trying to get the story out there and they were told by their higher ups, no go. It’s a dead story. Why? Ozone could be put into the ICUs [at] no expense, no cost. I don’t want to be paid for it to go into local hospitals … But we have a system that is so corrupt, so vile, that if it’s not FDA approved, they will let somebody die.
That’s evil on steroids. So it would seem that this pandemic could be a great opportunity. Because in China, they’re using intravenous ascorbic acid for this, but it would seem to be an opportunity to use ozone over there … The people that they’ve gotten to with ozone, even those who are seriously ill, have had a very favorable outcome.”
To learn more, read Rowen’s commentary,4 “A Plausible ‘Penny’ Costing Effective Treatment for Corona Virus — Ozone Therapy,” published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, or check out his website, DrRowenDrsu.com. In the interview, Rowen also goes into greater depth, explaining the biomechanics of ozone as it pertains to viral infections.