2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Preparing for the Wuhan Coronavirus

Seems like only yesterday, though actually it was 2003, that a viral infection called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) meandered around the world after starting at a live animal market China.

For those affected, what first appeared to be an especially bad cold quickly became something ominous, progressing to a potentially fatal pneumonia. Ultimately there were 8,098 cases of SARS around the world with 774 deaths. This was a pandemic, a worldwide infection.

Fortunately, medical communities cooperated with each other after some initial accusations that the Chinese were hiding data. Infected people were isolated and whole populations were taught techniques to keep them from spreading it, including the use of surgical masks and safe coughing techniques. Then, like most epidemics, the numbers started dwindling and everyone breathed a sigh of relief without first having their air filtered through a mask.

The villain of SARS was found to be a coronavirus—this new Wuhan virus is also a coronavirus–and there are lots of variations on this particular rascal, most of which are annoying rather than dangerous.

Four coronaviruses, viral cousins so to speak, are responsible for 10 to 30 percent of our upper respiratory infections. Viral colds aren’t curable, of course. Everyone should know this by now, even though people still sit patiently in waiting rooms hoping that their particular cold can be killed by an antibiotic.

Instead of trying to kill off a respiratory virus, trust your immune system. There are a lot of ways to reduce your susceptibility to all forms of coronaviruses, including the Wuhan virus. I’ll cover them below.

2012 coronavirus
After the SARS epidemic of 2003, another SARS-like coronavirus reared its head in 2012, causing respiratory illness with the added unpleasantries of gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea). Ultimately, 2,494 people were infected and 858 died of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

If you missed hearing about it, that might be because most cases  were limited to Saudi Arabia. Only two cases were ever diagnosed in  the US, both originating in Saudi citizens traveling here.

By 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was keeping a watchful eye out for clusters of infection. On December 31, 2019, there were reported cases of a severe pneumonia in Wuhan, China, that centered on a large open-air fish market with many caged live animals of diverse species, the very same setting as for SARS.

Although the Wuhan virus spreads quickly, in these early days it does not seem as lethal as SARS or MERS. We do know that it spreads by human-to-human contact because healthcare workers treating Wuhan patients have developed the illness themselves. Last week, a  physician died from the virus.

Contagion as entertainment
For its scientific accuracy, watch the 2011 movie “Contagion,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon. It’s an excellent and frightening suspense-filled drama that tells the story of a SARS-like epidemic.

The director, Steve Soderbergh, had medical advisors from the WHO and the film garnered positive reviews from infectious disease specialists worldwide.

One comment worth relating about the movie: we can now make vaccines much faster than conveyed in the film and in fact immunologists are developing vaccines against the Wuhan virus as you read this.

In the meantime what should you do?
Since no known antiviral can kill off coronaviruses, you need to rely on your immune system to protect you. I know this is  tedious and you’ve heard it all before, but your immune system will definitely work better if you:
–Don’t smoke.
–Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
–Exercise regularly.
–Maintain a healthy weight.
–Drink only in moderation, if at all.
–Get adequate sleep.
–Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
–Keep stress levels under  control.
–Avoid touching stuff that everybody else is touching such as grocery cart handles and airline tray tables and arm rests. Wipe them down with isopropyl alcohol. Clean your phone and other devices regularly too.

I would avoid air travel to China, especially to areas with clusters of the virus, but if you must travel there wear a surgical mask.

Click here for a New York Times map that tracks patients, deaths, and locations for the Wuhan coronavirus.

In addition, there  are  two  nutritional  supplements  I  recommend while  this  epidemic is going on. The two best immune stimulants are Transfer Factor Multi-Immune and Five Defenders. Both are mushroom blends that raise your NK (natural killer) viral defense system. Get one or the other (both not needed) and take one capsule twice daily.

Lastly, we’ve amplified our Immune Boost IV for the Wuhan situation.  It’s  a  bouillabaisse of vitamins  and  antioxidants  and  is a good choice  if  you think  you’re  especially  at  risk.

To schedule, call and make an appointment with IV nurse Janet, specifically requesting the Immune Boost IV so she can have it ready when you arrive.

Be well,
David Edelberg, MD

Leave a Comment

  1. David says:

    My proven successful recipe for ramping up the immune system is natto, nut/seed based yogurt and kefir (no dairy), dates (pre-biotics), fresh organic leafy green vegetable juice (no fruit except a lemon),vitamin D3, B12, C sprays (not tablet) and avoidance of all animal products.

  2. Lindsay says:

    Is there a difference between these two mushroom blends and the my community blend? Are these better?

    • cliffmaurer says:

      Hi Lindsay –
      They’re fairly similar but we’ve been getting better clinical results with the 5 defenders.
      Dr M

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our


The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.


Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis.
Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm.


• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Red, swollen eyes
• Itchy eyes and nose
• Tickly throat
• No fever

• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore throat
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild dry cough
• Rarely a low fever

• Painful sore throat
• Hurts to swallow
• Swollen glands in neck
• Fever

FLU (Standard seasonal flu)
• Fever
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Sudden onset over few hours
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Fatigue, sometimes quite severe
• Muscle aches, sometimes quite severe
• Rarely, diarrhea

• Shortness of breath
• Fever (usually above 100 degrees)
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Slow onset (2-14 days)
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild fatigue
• Mild sneezing

Recent Health Tips

  • Protecting Yourself From Overdiagnosis

    Bill, a healthy looking guy in his mid-40s, came to WholeHealth Chicago because he wanted to get off Lipitor, the widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug. Bill had virtually no risks for heart disease and all four of his grandparents were still alive and quite independent, but a few years ago his cholesterol was on the high side and his doctor insisted on the Lipitor. Arthur has Read More

  • Dying In A Leadership Vacuum: The NEJM Editorial in Context

    By now, you’ve probably read that the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an editorial entitled “Dying In A Leadership Vacuum” that asks Americans to work together to vote out Donald Trump because of his dreadful mismanagement of Covid-19 and the subsequent deaths of more than 220,000 Americans. To call the editorial scathing would be putting it mildly. If you don’t Read More

  • IV Immune Boost: Now Is The Time

    Nobody I know was surprised when the president and many of his staff were found to be Covid-19 positive. You can only thumb your nose at science for so long before Mother Nature gets exasperated and lets you have it. To me, the real irony is this: at the same time the upper echelon in Washington is receiving gold-plated medical care, they’re pushing through the Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!