TRACY — With the threat of West Nile virus topping the headlines in recent weeks, it may come as some comfort to Tri-Valley residents that at least one physician has published a treatment with a purported 86 percent success rate.

"People might feel a bit less worried this summer if a safe, reliable treatment already existed for West Nile virus encephalitis," said Dr. David Moskowitz, chief medical officer of St. Louis-based GenoMed Inc. "We believe one does."

The virus, which can be transferred to humans through mosquitoes, causes symptoms in only about 10 percent of those infected, with about 1 percentsuffering fatal consequences.

"It is not the virus itself that gets you," Moskowitz said. "It is the reaction by your white blood cells."

He described a situation in which the virus causes an overload of white blood cells to form in the brain, it is those cells attempting to fight off the virus that untimely causes symptoms that can lead to death, Moskowitz said.

While researching treatments for kidney failure, Moskowitz "stumbled" upon a treatment for West Nile.

"We use safe, FDA-approved blood pressure pills to lower the macrophage-driven immune response to viruses among people whose immune system overreacts too strongly to the virus," he said. "It turns out this means everybody in the general population except obviously immunosuppressed people."

In 2003, Moskowitz treated eight people suffering from West Nile, with seven out of the eight getting cured. To date, Moskowitz has treated a total of 22 people, with

19 showing dramatic signs of improvement.

"Normally West Nile can put you in a coma that takes three to five days to wake from," he said. "But the majority of our patients are better in 24 hours."

Although his findings have not "made the leap from scientific literature to the mainstream," Moskowitz said those with a family member suffering from West Nile can share his information with their own doctor.

To view and download the Moskowitz treatment for West Nile to share with your doctor, visit http://www.genomed.com or contact his office at (314) 983-9938.