"The patients who received vitamin C did significantly better than those who did not get vitamin C," said Dr Andrew G Weber, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist with Northwell Health, which has 23 hospitals in New York state, including Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.
His patients are being given doses of 1500 milligrams three to four times a day, which is 16 times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women.
He said the positive results coming out of hospitals in China—where the coronavirus epidemic started—inspired him to trial the same therapy and dose on his critical patients. "It helps a tremendous amount but it is not highlighted because it's not a sexy drug," Dr Weber added.
Dr Enqian Mao, chief of emergency medicine at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, treated 359 COVID-19 patients in critical care units with high-dose vitamin C, ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 mg a day for seven to 10 days. None of the patients died. Dr Mao has used high-dose vitamin C for 10 years to treat a range of health problems, including sepsis, pancreatitis and surgical wound healing.
Dr Weber is not the only doctor at Northwell administering high-dose vitamin C. A spokesman said it is being used wildly, although the actual dose is decided by each clinician.