Selenium is a mineral found in pill form at almost any health food store, pharmacy,
or grocery in the U.S. -- and, for years,
Andrew Young has been taking it
as a dietary supplement.
Now, it may be effective in helping fight COVID-19.
The Andrew J. Young Foundation succeeded in delivering a supply of selenium to Dr. Jerry Brown in Liberia.
In 2014, Ambassador Young received an urgent call from the President of Liberia, asking for assistance in obtaining a supply of selenium. It was a response to the terrifying outbreak of ebola that soon became a world health concern that year.
Working with the top ebola fighters in Liberia, who later appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, the Andrew J. Young Foundation swiftly obtained a thousand bottles of selenium -- from Walmart -- and drew upon Ambassador Young's extensive international contacts to arrange for a shipment to be delivered inside the hot zone.
Reportedly, 68% of ebola patients who received the mineral lived, while only 44% survived without selenium.
Ambassador Young's curiosity was piqued.
It is believed the mineral may fortify the human body's defense system and impede the growth of viruses. But because the mineral is inexpensive, there has been little incentive for major studies by profit-oriented pharmaceutical companies.
However, one expert has been researching selenium for two decades. Ethan Will Taylor, Ph.D., is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of North Carolina as well as Director of the Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in Greensboro. He is best known for his work on the role and mechanisms of selenium in reducing the effects of various RNA viruses. And it so happens he is a longtime friend and associate of Ambassador Young's.
Dr. Taylor has published about the subject extensively in peer reviewed journals, and in June he was part of a team that wrote about selenium and COVID-19 n the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The Andrew J. Young Foundation called upon him when Liberia again asked for help -- this time to obtain large quantities of the supplement to help stave off the pandemic by helping to boost immune systems in that country.
Again, and not entirely without difficulty, the foundation mounted a successful effort to procure selenium and deliver it to Liberia. Board member Paul Rosser, a retired Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy as well as former owner of a prominent international engineering company, reached out to his contacts in order to pull off the tricky arrangements for transportation. Unable to ship directly to Liberia because of the crisis, Rosser was able to route the selenium through Germany and from there by sea. It finally arrived in late July 2020.
Now, Dr. Taylor is joining forces with the Andrew J. Young Foundation "to help us draw attention to affordable nutrition-based approaches with potential to increase survival rate in the COVID-19 pandemic," he says.
Even if it is only a modest protection, it could save some lives.
Ethan Will Taylor, Ph.D.
"Our mission here," Dr. Taylor says, "would be to provide, free of charge, large quantities of a multivitamin with [selenium] to distribute and hopefully benefit first responders and health care workers, and any populations globally who are at risk of acquiring COVID-19."
Click to see the research on selenium and COVID-19 from Dr. Eathan Will Taylor and his colleagues in June 2020 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.