As the world watches with increasing horror the slow but sure spread of Ebola virus disease, health authorities are struggling with how best to treat the afflicted while maintaining strict isolation and quarantine.
Distressingly many healthcare workers taking care of ill patients have themselves been infected and are in mortal danger, including Americans Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Whitebol.
The disease is highly infectious, meaning once a patient comes in contact with the virus, a severe illness almost always develops. Patient commonly develop fatal hemorrhages from their mouths, eyes, and skin.
There is no vaccine for Ebola currently and no specific cure or antidote other than supportive care such as intravenous fluids, oxygen, blood transfusions and correcting electrolyte abnormalities
News organizations today are reporting the importation of an untried experimental serum to try to halt or reverse the course of the disease, with health authorities no doubt willing to risk any unknown adverse side effects against a hoped for, life-saving benefit.
However, sadly there was apparently only enough medicine for one dose, which Dr. Brantly gallantly gave to Ms. Whitebol. As of this writing, both Americans remain in guarded condition.
In this clearly desperate scenario for those currently infected and for the worldwide health ramifications, would it be wise to ask what other unproven experimental treatments could be employed as a last gasp strategy to try to save lives when there is nothing left to do?
One possibility that might bear consideration is Rife therapy – a controversial treatment modality that has been largely discredited by medical authorities in the United States as unproven.
Although considered little better than quackery by much of the American medical establishment, Rife therapy is a more widely accepted therapeutic modality in Europe and is used for a wide variety of conditions, including cancer and other serious illness.
Rife therapy machines come in many styles and models. For illustration purposes, one popular and commonly used machine sold in Canada is described as a photon resonant light emission device (dubbed the PERL.)
The device (about the size of a small suitcase) is a non-contact, non-invasive device that uses electricity to stimulate argon gas in a closed tube to emit an electrostatic charge, light, and an electromagnetic frequency (EMF.)
When the device is turned on it delivers radio frequencies in a 360 degree pattern. Literature from the manufacturers states that the resultant EMF can be used for the control of microbes, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and yeast**.
The manufacturer states in the instruction manual that the anti-microbe EMFs travel up to 30 feet and will penetrate walls, concrete, steel, and lead.
The device is easily programmable to deliver the specific frequencies desired. There are published protocols widely available on the Internet on specific frequency protocols that purportedly are effective for different classes of microbes being targeted.
Almost all state medical boards in the United States strongly discourage physician participation or recommendation of Rife treatment. Penalties for prescribing Rife treatment can include censure and loss of licensure.
Despite this official condemnation, Rife therapy is quietly used by tens of thousands of patients in the United States for a wide range of ills, including most commonly as an antimicrobial strategy for Lyme disease. Many of these patients give positive anecdotal reports of efficacy in controlling their infections.
Not surprisingly, due to antipathy of the medical establishment most physicians avoid professional consideration of Rife therapy and there are few recent studies investigating Rife therapy in humans.
However, there has been some research in the past 20 years published in animal and in vitro models that has investigated the use of electromagnetic frequencies as a strategy and shown a positive effect in controlling microbial infection and producing beneficial changes on wound healing, immune response, and inflammatory response.
In a study investigating the use of electromagnetic fields to control the protozoan infection coccidiosis in broiler chickens, it was found that exposure had an antagonistic effect on the causative Eimeria organisms treated birds (Elmusharaf and Cuppen, 2007.)
There are also suggestions that the use of electromagnetic fields may cause an anti-inflammatory effect and promote wound healing in rats (Jasti and Wetzel, 2001.)
In addition, several studies have suggested in vitro anti-inflammatory effects of electromagnetic frequency treatment ( Cronstein and Montesinos, 1999; Valbona and Richard, 1999; Montesionos and Yap, 2000.)
EMF exposure has also been shown to effect a heightened immune response in several in vitro studies (Blank and Khorkova, 1992; Goodman and Blank, 1994; Simco and Mattsson, 2004.)
This EMF mediation of inhanced immunity has also been suggested in a rat model (Mevissen and Haussler, 1998.)
So, how could Rife therapy actually be employed in a treatment facility caring for Ebola patients?
One scenario could have the Rife machine set up outside of the isolation tent to avoid contaminating the equipment. The unit and the control pad could be wrapped in clear plastic as an added precaution without affecting the performance or treatment effect.
The desired frequencies could then be programmed and the unit turned on.
The patients to be treated would remain in their hospital beds or perhaps moved to within 6-12 feet of the device for optimal effect while still remaining on the isolation side of the structure. Depending on the size of the isolation room, multiple patients could be treated simultaneously.
The timing and duration of the treatment sessions could be tailored based on clinical response but initially could be patterned off one of the many published protocols used by patients ill with other serious infections.
But, in the end, the harsh, horrible truth is that there is no more serious and deadly than infection with Ebola. In the not too distant future, likely spurred on by this outbreak, scientists will design and mass produce a vaccine to spare the world this scourge.
But, sadly, that welcome development will come too late for those that are ill and dying today. Do we as physicians, health care providers, and fellow human beings owe it to those afflicted to at least be open and willing to try another unproven and untested treatment that might get them to the other side of this terrible disease.
They are counting on us.
* The manufacture includes a disclaimer in their sales literature that the PERL is not intended as a medical device.