Sunday, July 21, 2024

Manager of Rock Group KISS Endorses Potential COVID Treatment That Could Save the Live Touring Business (EXCLUSIVE)


In late summer 2021, the rock group KISS — always on the road touring — hit a COVID wall. Their principal members, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, were diagnosed with the corona virus. Nine shows had to be cancelled. They had to find a solution and fast.

Luckily KISS is managed by a wily rock and roll veteran, Doc McGhee. A one time protege of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, McGhee is known for his astute talents working with many famous bands including Bon Jovi and Motley Crue. McGhee had heard about a possible COVID treament called Steriwave, which by coincidence I wrote about in this space when COVID first took off in March 2020.

Steriwave, made by Vancouver’s Ondine Biomedical, a light treatment for nasal passages, is approved for use in Canada, where it’s been a big success, and in the European Union. It’s currently undergoing testing by the FDA here in the US. McGhee decided it was worth a look, and arranged for two Steriwave machines to come on tour with the band immediately. It was worth a try.

The result: KISS, using Steriwave treatment, has not a COVID case in 18 months. (Tragically, a KISS roadie who refused the treatment contracted COVID and died. A lawsuit is pending.) McGhee says: “It would be impossible, not improbable, but impossible, for KISS to continue on its world tour without the protection of the Steriwave treatment.”

McGhee — as well as Simmons and Stanley — credit Steriwave with keeping them healthy so they can finish their massive farewell tour ending in December 2023 at Madison Square Garden. COVID has plagued rock bands and performers on tour, including Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band which recently had to use substitute players when the virus swept through their organization.

McGhee told me on Friday by phone from London: “My job is to ensure success and keep the band healthy. We’d heard about a meat packing plant in Vancouver that used Steriwave and it worked. I said, Let me get it.”

It was not just results at the meat packing plant. In March 2020, a week before I wrote my story, Canada’s Global News reported that an Edmonton Alberta nursing home was having success using the treatment on their patients.

McGee says, “It was a matter of getting people to understand it. The band had to because they were getting sick. But you have to look at the science. The science is simple. It was designed to stop post-operative infections. It kills everything in the nasal passages. And there are no side effects.”

Steriwave is not new. Going back to 2013 there were reports in the Canadian press about the treatment’s success. A Vancouver General Hospital team was the first to introduce a non-antibiotic universal nasal decolonization protocol that has since helped the hospital achieve over 70% reductions in surgical site infections over historical rates. The hospital won the 2013 Global Infection Control Innovation Award.

I first wrote about Steriwave in March 2020 when there were no vaccines but plenty of talk about a variety of crackpot solutions. Steriwave had a proven track record already for treating MRSA and other related virus. I wrote then that the process is a “six minute treatment [that] involves swabbing the nose with a blue gel (photosensitizer) followed by illumination with a red light for a few minutes. The protocol – applied by an LPN or RN nursing staff trained by the Ondine team – is intended to build on infection control strategies (such as handwashing, social distancing, environmental controls) already in place.”

McGhee is adamant that Steriwave treatment has saved his business, but he’s not invested in it financially and gets no remuneration for his enthusiasm. He says. “I’m just trying to help my industry.” He says of the moment he got involved, “I was responsible for irresponsible people, people strung out all over the world.” He concedes that he can’t make everyone who works for him take it. But, he says, “I wouldn’t go on tour without it. The pandemic is not over.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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