Congratulations to Dr. Patrick M. Nemechek, D.O., for receiving U.S. Patent No. 11,123,560 granted on 9/21/2021 titled “Methods of Treating Covid-19 Induced Cytokine Storm” through the administration of supportive medical care through transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation (tVNS). A short video reviewing the results of Dr. Nemechek’s clinical trial of tVNS in hospitalized COVID-19 patients can be found here. The scientific basis for the patent came from a clinical trial assessing the impact of tVNS in hospitalized COVID-19 patients who required supplemental oxygen that Dr. Nemechek designed and conducted. The peer-reviewed study can be found here.
Dr. Nemechek was inspired to take his knowledge of the autonomic nervous system, his 25 years of experience working with the HIV/AIDS virus, and his present work with vagus nerve stimulation to help people afflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic. There exists an urgent need in the worldwide battle against a SARS-COV2 infection to develop treatment options to mitigate the impact of active infection and increase the survival of patients.
In particular, Covid-19 patients are dealing with pro-inflammatory cytokines, which contribute to various diseases and disorders. When an immune response becomes uncontrolled due to a Covid-19 infection, the resulting cytokine storm creates adverse consequences in the body.
A cytokine storm can be caused by a variety of things, including a virus, bacteria, or an infection, and it can lead to multi-organ failure and a high risk of sepsis or death. Symptoms of a cytokine storm are high fever, swelling and redness, extreme nausea, extreme fatigue, and the person can have lung failure, renal failure, kidney failure, respiratory distress syndrome (wet lung), blood clotting problems, and cardiovascular collapse or shock.
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) can be through an implanted device or an external device on the skin called transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS). tVNS delivers a gentle and imperceptible electrical stimulation to the exterior of the ear, which helps prevent, reduce, or reverse a cytokine storm by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines via the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway.
The reduction of the cytokine storm that occurs in Covid-19 patients employing tVNS has many advantages over pharmaceutical agents in that it is safe, effective, inexpensive, simple, and non-invasive.
VNS helps regulate the immune system more effectively, thereby avoiding pro-inflammatory responses and immunosuppression. The balance in the autonomic nervous system is vital because COVID-19 can trigger a patient’s immune system to overshoot its response resulting in tissue damage (lungs, kidneys, heart, nervous system), increased blood clotting, septic shock, and even death.
tVNS is an anti-inflammatory approach that improves patient survival by decreasing cytokine release, lessening respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and organ system failure. The world is in desperate need of solutions, and we are proud to announce that Dr. Nemechek has forged ahead with a new tool in this challenging fight.