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Published: Jun.21.2012

Hormesis + Toxin = Therapy
John McMichael, Beech Tree Labs, Inc.

Hormesis is often defined as the stimulating effect of a small dose of a substance that is toxic at higher concentrations. Further, the hormetic effect is often seen graphically as a “J” or “U” shaped curve where doses higher or lower than the optimum can fail to induce any response or be toxic.

One such potent toxic substance is thimerosal, an agent long used as a topical disinfectant (Merthiolate) and as an anti-microbial preservative in vaccines. Thimerosal in vaccines has been a focus of heated discussions and lawsuits because of its implication as a possible cause of autism in vaccinated children.

The standard concentration of thimerosal in vaccines was one part in ten thousand (1:10,000), but a therapeutic dose has been found which is considerably lower yet significantly higher than what would be anticipated in a homeopathic remedy. This therapeutic dose is measurable by standard techniques, is stable, and is useful.

For the past two decades we have been working with thimerosal as an anti-viral agent for in vivo use in humans and domestic animals. While showing some modest activity against adeno- and polyomaviruses, it is especially effective in combating viruses of the influenza and herpes families.

At first glance it would appear that these two virus classes have little in common. Influenza viruses have SS-RNA for their genetic material while herpes viruses have DS-DNA. Influenza infection is restricted to the respiratory tract while the herpes family can induce disease in a wide variety of tissues.

What these two virus families do share is a replicative cycle that is the target of thimerosal therapy. That vulnerable step is associated with the assembly of virus particles after infection and uncoating in susceptible host cells.

Successful interruption of viral progeny production translates to interruption of infection and often extremely rapid resolution of symptoms and restoration of the healthy state. FDA- authorized clinical trials for evaluating the safety and efficacy of thimerosal for the treatment of influenza and recurrent oral herpes infections have been initiated.