E.R. and Critical Care doctor in New York City, Dr. Cameron Kyle-Sidell, posted a video on March 31 on Vimeo.com titled ‘FROM NYC ICU: IS COVID REALLY ARDS?!!!’
Nearly 100,000 views later and the public is unsure whether to support his message.
“Nine days ago, I opened an intensive care unit to care for the sickest COVID positive patients in the city. In these nine days, I have seen things I have never seen before. In treating these patients, I have witnessed medical phenomenon that just doesn’t make sense in the context of treating a disease that is supposed to be a viral pneumonia.”
Kyle-Sidell’s video has been viewed over 76,000 times, however it only has 82 comments on it, which mostly consists of different people arguing over whether or not they believe what the doctor has said.
“COVID-19 lung disease is not a pneumonia and shouldn’t be treated as one, rather it appears as some kind of viral induced disease most resembling high altitude sickness,” said Dr. Kyle-Sidell in his video while he discussed the symptoms of COVID-19, and his belief that medical professionals are not treating the correct disease.
After watching this video, YouTube user Ava Green went on to make her own video titled ‘Did she find the missing link for a Coronavirus treatment? Her brain fluid leak led her right to it!’ and post it to YouTube on April 13, 2020, gaining over 4 million views since it was posted.
While starting off her video, Green points out that she is not a medical professional and encourages each person watching to take their own precautionary measures in regards to the information she gives.
Green mentions that while watching Cameron Kyle-Sidell’s video, something sparked in her brain at the mention of High Altitude Sickness.
“I looked up High Altitude Sickness, there it was, plain as day – Google it. Low grade fever, couldn’t believe it. Dry cough, couldn’t believe it. Dizziness, believe that. Shortness of breath, got it. Fluid build-up in the lungs, couldn’t believe it. Pulmonary edema – High Altitude Sickness. He was right, it presents exactly like the Corona Virus,” says Green after she had done her own research in reference to what the doctor had previously explained in a video.
Green then goes on to explain that after an epidural went wrong, she was diagnosed with a cerebral spinal fluid leak in her brain and that ultimately lead to her ending up with low and high pressure headaches. For the high pressure headaches, Green was prescribed Diamox (or generically known as acetazolamide), which has also been used to treat High Altitude Sickness or Mountain Sickness.
After turning to Google to find out if anybody had thought of or made any breakthroughs with the use of Diamox and after nothing, Green took to going into a Facebook group she was a part of called ‘Rebound High Pressure,’ where she knew that many users had used Diamox before, to ask if anybody in that group if anybody had gotten the Corona Virus.
“Out of 1,200 people, over a course of days, one person responded that had symptoms of the Corona Virus and she had other respiratory issues along with it. She’s taking Diamox and she never got bad enough to go into the hospital, and she said, “Now that I think about it – And she’s a vet, she’s a doctor – I think the Diamox really helped me.”
Green then goes on to discuss that she was even skeptical of her findings, and wanted to find a more credible source than herself. While searching for this source, Green found an article on cureus.com called ‘Acetazolamide, Nifedipine and Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors: Rationale for Their Utilization as Adjunctive Countermeasures in the Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)’ that raised the same question that Green was asking.
“If you think there’s anything to this, just pass it on. If you think I’m crazy, then delete it but can we just pass it on until somebody says Diamox or Acetazolamide is not going to work for these patients because X, Y and Z, fine. But until we hear that can we just do something with this information and share it somehow, some way, to someone? I don’t know why this isn’t getting out there,” Green asks of those viewing the video, expressing her concern for the drug that she believes may be the cure to the disease spreading all over the world.
On April 21, 2020 an article was published in The Montreal Gazette titled ‘Christopher Labos: No, COVID-19 isn’t like altitude sickness,’ where Montreal doctor, Christopher Labos, goes on to explain why the disease differs from High Altitude Sickness, unlike what Dr. Kyle-Sidell and Ava Green had claimed.
“Normally there’s no harm in thinking out loud. Unfortunately when you’re in a pandemic, idle speculation can spiral out of control into a full-blown conspiracy theory. That’s how I received the rather unexpected question of whether COVID-19 was really due to high altitude sickness and whether it could be treated with Diamox. It isn’t and it can’t,” Dr. Labos starts off his article stating the observations and the theories that have been made surrounding this disease.
“High altitude illness occurs when people (for reasons I admire but do not fully understand) decide to climb a mountain or otherwise ascend to new heights. As we get further away from sea level, the atmosphere thins out, which means there is less ambient oxygen for us to breathe in. The lower the oxygen content of the air, the less oxygen we absorb into our blood. Less oxygen in our blood causes blood vessels in the lungs to constrict which raises pulmonary pressures. So while there is a similarity between COVID-19 and high altitude sickness patients in that they both have low oxygen levels, the nature of the disease is entirely different.”
After stating the differences between High Altitude Sickness and COVID-19, Labos went on to mention that while the two illnesses seem to be similar, they are not the same by any means and using medications that are proven to treat one will not treat the other.
“Diamox actually makes the blood more acidic and can worsen renal function, so while it is useful for preventing altitude sickness, it could be very dangerous if given to an ICU patient,” says Labos to the prospect of using Diamox to help those in the ICU suffering with COVID-19.