Swiss Protocol for COVID — Quercetin and Zinc

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

swiss protocol for COVID-19

Story at-a-glance

  • A recently published Swiss Policy Research (SPR) protocol recommends people at high risk of COVID-19 or exposure to it use quercetin and zinc to treat the virus, in addition to other commonly available medications
  • Hydroxychloroquine studies with negative outcomes were marred by a delay in administering the drug, excessive doses of the drug, skewed data and contraindications that were not honored, according to SPR
  • Simple, safe and inexpensive COVID-19 treatments could render more complex medications and vaccinations obsolete


This is an older article that may not reflect Dr. Mercola’s current view on this topic. Use our search engine to find Dr. Mercola’s latest position on any health topic.

Swiss Policy Research (SPR), formerly known as Swiss Propaganda Research, which describes itself as “an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit research group investigating geopolitical propaganda in Swiss and international media,” has published numerous articles on COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.1

While SPR’s critics2 have accused it of promoting “unproven” theories, their work focuses on using published studies, case reports and actual physician testimonies for its reporting.

In regard to the pandemic, they have focused on the origin of COVID-19,3 the effectiveness of face masks,4 the lethality of an infection5 and misinformation from mainstream media sources.6 Most recently, SPR has released a summary of the scientific evidence they’ve found for treating COVID-19 with simple, safe and inexpensive ingredients.7

Zinc, quercetin, hydroxychloroquine, bromhexine, azithromycin and heparin are all treatments that scientific evidence or practical use by physicians have shown can be used successfully against COVID-19, SPR says. U.S. physicians, for example, using zinc, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin:

"… reported an 84% decrease in hospitalization rates, a 50% decrease in mortality rates among already hospitalized patients (if treated early), and an improvement in the condition of patients within 8 to 12 hours. Italian doctors reported a decrease in deaths of 66%."

Iranian doctors using bromhexine, a drug which breaks down mucus8 but is not available in the U.S., have:

"… reported in a study with 78 patients a decrease in intensive care treatments of 82%, a decrease in intubations of 89%, and a decrease in deaths of 100%. Chinese doctors reported a 50% reduction in intubations."

The Suggested Treatment Protocol

Reminding readers to be sure to check with their doctors before beginning any treatment, SPR chose the following protocols for early treatment of COVID-19 over a five- to seven-day regimen of:9

Zinc — 50 milligrams [mg] to 100 mg per day

Hydroxychloroquine — 400 mg per day

Quercetin — 500 mg to 1,000 mg per day

Bromhexine — 50 mg to 100 mg per day

Azithromycin — up to 500 mg per day

Heparin — usual dosage

The rational for the protocols is backed by data from prior research involving treatments that SPR said was found to be effective:10

"The efficacy of HCQ [hydroxychloroquine] against SARS coronaviruses was established in 2005 in the wake of the SARS-1 epidemic. The efficacy of zinc in blocking RNA replication of coronaviruses was discovered in 2010 by world-leading SARS virologist Ralph Baric.

The efficacy of HCQ in supporting the cellular uptake of zinc was discovered in 2014 as part of cancer research. The efficacy of the flavonoid quercetin in supporting the cellular uptake of zinc was also discovered in 2014. The efficacy of bromhexine in blocking cell entry of coronaviruses was established in 2017.”

The goal of treating COVID-19 with the six suggested supplements and medications is to nip the virus in the bud and avoid hospitalization, says the organization.11 Starting the protocol as soon as symptoms emerge may prevent progression of the illness.

Data Show Hydroxychloroquine Is Effective, SPR Found

Many people have heard about hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 and much of what they’ve heard recently in mainstream news is negative. That's because the media have focused on negative outcomes from selected studies and subsequent warnings from the FDA.12

SPR contends, however, that those studies were marred by a delay in administering the drug, excessive doses of the drug, skewed data and contraindications that were ignored.13

According to notes which accompany the protocol, hydroxychloroquine and quercetin (which can be substituted for hydroxychloroquine) "support the cellular absorption of zinc and have additional anti-viral properties."

In treating COVID-19, the use of hydroxychloroquine and other common medications and supplements has become so politicized, patients may end up being denied inexpensive and effective treatments which have been studied and found to be effective in multiple investigations from around the world.

Even The Lancet, a well-respected medical journal, found itself embroiled in COVID-19 misinformation — possibly partisan — and had to retract research that claimed hydroxychloroquine had no benefit.

Still, top doctors have not been afraid to speak out about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating patients who contract the virus. In an op-ed in Newsweek magazine, Dr. Harvey A. Risch from the Yale School of Public Health, wrote:14

"When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.

On May 27, I published an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE) entitled, 'Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk COVID-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis.'

That article, published in the world's leading epidemiology journal, analyzed five studies, demonstrating clear-cut and significant benefits to treated patients, plus other very large studies that showed the medication safety."

In his op-ed, Risch cites hydroxychloroquine studies in U.S. nursing homes and clinics, and trials in Brazil and France that had positive outcomes with few to no deaths.15

Zinc Is an Important Part of the COVID-19 Fight

Zinc plays a vital role in immunity as well as in blood clotting,16 cell division,17 thyroid health,18 smell and taste,19 vision20 and wound healing.21 It can effectively inhibit the replication of viruses in a cell, but it needs "ionophores"22 to shuttle it into the cell where it puts up its fight. You may also need to take zinc daily because the body does not store it.23

Luckily, both hydroxychloroquine and quercetin are ionophores that usher zinc into the cells where it is needed. Zinc is so basic to fighting infections, some research suggests that it is zinc rather than hydroxychloroquine or quercetin that does the "heavy lifting" of inhibiting viral replication when they are given together.

In research published in the International Journal for Infectious Diseases, both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin were effective and "associated with reduction in COVID-19 associated mortality."24 In a study of 2,541 patients with an average age of 64 and who spent an average of six days in the hospital, Michigan scientists found:25

"In this multi-hospital assessment, when controlling for COVID-19 risk factors, treatment with hydroxychloroquine alone and in combination with azithromycin was associated with reduction in COVID-19 associated mortality."

However, zinc was not included in this trial and most doctors fail to add zinc and an antibiotic for secondary bacterial infections in their hydroxycholoroquine regimens. Despite FDA warnings about hydroxychloroquine-related heart rhythm problems,26 the researchers in this study report that:27

"A review of our COVID-19 mortality data demonstrated no major cardiac arrhythmias … observed with hydroxychloroquine treatment."

In addition to strengthening your immune system through activating your body's T cells,28 zinc has cognitive29 and mood effects.30 It protects your hippocampus, which is involved in depression, emotion, memory and learning.31 It also helps your brain release brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which counteracts brain inflammation and depression. 

Signs that your zinc levels are low32 include loss of appetite, impaired immune system, sluggish metabolism and thinning hair.

Quercetin Helps Fight COVID-19

Quercetin is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory plant pigment that boosts your immune system and may work to control viral replication, according to some research.33 It allows zinc to exert its proven antiviral properties; in treating COVID-19, quercetin may also lower inflammation, help clear mucus, prevent ventilator-induced damage and support immunity.

According to the research, quercetin has been shown to help fight obesity, Type 2 diabetes, circulatory dysfunction, chronic inflammation and mood disorders.34 It has even been found to help lower blood pressure.35

Researchers have found that quercetin can trigger tumor regression and begin the process of apoptosis.36 This is programmed cell death, without which cells can grow uninterrupted and develop into cancerous growths.

Protect Yourself With Facts From Sources Such as SPR

Operation Warp Speed, the fast-tracking of a COVID-19 vaccine to licensure and subsequent widespread use, is now in full operation. What we must remember here is that vaccine manufacturers are not liable for any damage their vaccines do. Since 2011, drug companies making and selling vaccines are even shielded from design defect lawsuits, which means they have absolutely no incentive for reducing the risks associated with the use of their products.

Vaccine makers and the health care practitioners who administer vaccines do not face any liability whatsoever if a new coronavirus vaccine turns out to be a catastrophe.

Worse, when a COVID-19 vaccine is ready to be marketed to the public, there likely will be little or no information about its long- and short-term side effects, because it will be so new and because it will lack the test of time for determining its efficacy and safety. Operation Warp Speed and fast-tracked vaccines may be largely unnecessary, as SPR writes:37

"It is conceivable that the above treatment protocol, which is simple, safe and inexpensive, could render more complex medications, vaccinations, and other measures largely obsolete."


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