• Sharon Starkey

COVID and Autism

I recently attended a virtual training on COVID 19 and Autism through TACA (The Autism Community in Action) and thought I would share some of what I learned here.

COVID-19 is the infection caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).


Recent studies have reported patients with COVID-19 who develop severe infections typically have significant inflammation and cytokine storms. They also show evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, abnormal cytokine levels, and diminished glutathione levels. All of these problems have previously been reported in individuals with autism. Dr. Rossignol reviews the links between the problems found in COVID-19 and autism. A number of nutritional supplements and medications might be helpful in preventing COVID-19 or limiting the severity of illness and Dr. Rossignol discussed these as well.

Dr. Dan Rossignol received his Doctorate of Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia and completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Virginia. Coming from an academic background, Dr. Rossignol searched the medical literature looking for a solution after both of his children were diagnosed with autism. He has made it his mission to research and publish in autism. Since 2006, he has 53 papers, abstracts, editorials, and book chapters concerning autism and related conditions. Dr. Rossignol is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (FAAFP) and a Fellow of the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (FMAPS).


What I learned is COVID and Autism overlap in the following areas: low glutathione, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, abnormal cytokines, inflammation and low vitamin D. Children with less ACE2 receptors have an excellent prognosis when contracting COVID and those with vitamin D deficiencies have a 50% mortality probability. I also learned that glutathione therapy may be helpful. There are also many hypothesized treatments. Because there has not been enough time to do ample, repetitive studies, there are no definite answers. However, based on smaller sample studies these are potential hypothesized treatments:

  • Pioglitazone

  • Motrin

  • Metronidazole

  • Dexamethasone

  • Mesenchymal stem cells

  • HBOT

  • Memantine

  • Pentoxifylline

  • Montelukast

  • Vitamin D

  • Quercetin

  • Vitamin C

  • N-acetylcysteine

  • Melatonin

  • Astaxanthm

  • Chinese Medicine

  • Resveratrol

  • Green Teas and Black Tea Polyphenols

  • Curcumin

  • Omega 3

  • Lithium

  • Glycyrrhizin

  • Magnesium

  • Elderberry

  • Zinc

There is so much more to learn! I encourage you to watch The TACA Conference video for more information and details. The recording can be seen until 11/15/2020 on the following link: https://tacanow.org/covidautism

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